St Christopher and Nevis Official Gazette contradict PM’s claims that all family members were appointed by previous administration
Prime Minister Dr. The Hon. Timothy Harris continues to provide calculated responses in relation to questions about nepotism and alleged unethical practice with reference to family members in key positions.
The St. Kitts and Nevis leader has long denied the allegations and did so once again at his monthly press conference on Tuesday, April 9.
Dr. Harris stated that his family members were put in to their civil service positions and promoted by the previous Labour Party administration.
However, various volumes of the St Christopher and Nevis Official Gazette indicate otherwise.
Dr Harris’ response was an echo of comments made to Jerry George in St Vincent and the Grenadines on the weekend, where he said “there is not a scintilla of evidence” that he is guilty of nepotism.”
Investigations reveal that:
1. Dr Harris’ sister Janine Harris-Lake was the Registrar. Due to continuous complaints from lawyers as well as the St Kitts and Nevis Bar Association, she was transferred to the Copyright section of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. When Dr Harris became prime minister he sent her back to perform the duties of Registrar.
2. Dr Harris’ sister Donna Harris headed the Legal Aid Unit prior to him becoming prime minister. After he became Prime Minister Donna Harris was appointed Magistrate. There was no advertisement for the post.
3. Dr Harris’ brother Lenworth Harris was General Manager of the St Kitts and Nevis Development Bank under the Labour government. He was on suspension from the post as an investigation was being conducted when the change of government took place. After Dr Harris became prime minister and minister of finance, Dr Harris sent him back to the bank and he was given the newly-created post of CEO. Dr Harris also appointed Lenworth Harris to be a director on the St Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board. The Development Bank of which he is CEO, also borrows money from the Social Security Board. Lenworth Harris is also on the Committee that distributed the US$16 million given by President Maduro of Venezuela to pay ex-sugar workers a gratuity. The same sugar workers Dr Harris denied were owed monies in 2012 when he was a minister in the Labour Government.
4. Dr Harris has appointed a nephew, Alexis Nisbett, to be chairman of the St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank.
5. Dr Harris has appointed Alexis Nisbett’s wife, Akilah, to be a senator and also deputy speaker in the National Assembly. Akilah is also the deputy political leader of Harris’ PLP. She replaced Sam Condor who along with others were ousted from the PLP in 2016.
6. Dr Harris has appointed a nephew, Big T, a butler to his private residence with a EC$5,000 a month salary.
7. Dr Harris has appointed another sister, Coretta Harris, then a senior clerk, Ministry of International Trade as Marketing Support Officer, National Entrepreneurial Development Division with effect from November 1, 2015. He has since appointed her Head of Payroll in the Department of Human Resource in the Office of the Prime Minister.
8. Dr Harris as Minister of National Security, appointed his brother, Denzil Harris, then a Prison Officer to several positions since he became prime minister. Denzil Harris, Principal Prison Officer was appointed Chief Prison Officer with effect from 1st April 2016. He is presently Acting Superintendent of Prisons, while the substantive holder, Junie Scrape Hodge is on forced leave since 2016 and is being paid monthly.
9. His brother in law, Jermaine Lake was an Environmental Health Officer when Dr Harris became prime minister. Mr Lake was promoted and appointed Deputy Chief Environmental Health Officer on 15 July 2015 with effect from 1st October 2014 and received back pay to 2014 for a post he was never appointed to previously.
Dr Harris’ nepotism is not just confined to public appointments. His family members have established businesses in the areas of construction, trucking, landscaping, ice making, security, car rentals, tent, table and chair rentals.