St Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris has gone to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal to stop him from handing over documents related to the so-called stem cell scandal to Leader of the Opposition the Rt Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas.
In July, Justice Eddy Ventose had given prime minister Harris until August 2, 2019 to provide Dr Douglas with several documents including the letter authorising the St Kitts Institute for Regenerative Medicine to start up business, certified copies of decisions of the Cabinet, a list of medical personnel who worked on the project, the customs declaration forms and evidence that the umbilical cord blood or blood samples were procured by reputable international cord blood banks.
“I understand that he (Dr Harris) did ask for a stay of the judgement and has appealed the judgement and for the appeal to be heard quickly. I now understand that the appeal of that decision would be heard all the way down in September, close to the end of September. I believe Dr Harris is trying his very best not to hand over, hoping that he would call the election before that and that he would want a further delay so that he can call the elections,” Dr Douglas told the media in response to a question during his Labour Party’s monthly press conference on Wednesday..
The Stem Cell matter went to court after Dr Harris took action against Dr Douglas claiming that he was libelled in a speech on 22 June 2016.
Dr Douglas in an amended defence on 5 December 2016 claimed that the words to which Dr Harris had complained of “were fair comment based on qualified privilege.”
On 6 March 2019, Dr Douglas moved the court seeking several documents from Dr Harris.
Following a hearing on 29 June 2019, Justice Ventose in a 22 July 2019 ruling granted Dr Douglas’ application and ordered Prime Minister Harris to disclosure of several documents.