By Special Correspondent
Expert opinion and the voice of the people throughout the Caribbean have agreed on one thing. Dr Timothy Harris will be the first “One-Term” prime minister in the history of St Kitts and Nevis (SKN). Right now, the notoriety of Dr Harris and his financial, personal, and family misdeeds is spreading faster and further than the COVID-19 virus. Even our youth are appalled by the rampant nepotism, corruption, and dishonesty, as well as the many lies that fly so quickly, smoothly, and frequently off his lips.
For example, speaking on why all CARICOM states should adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal, Nevisian student, Zidan Wilkin, singled out the prevalence and pervasiveness of the political nepotism that has tainted even the judiciary during the Dr Harris regime. He described it as “incestuous”.
Young Wilkin had every reason not just to say so, but to be angry about it. He is not the only one. As another youth said, “It is not just that he has been giving all the best and top jobs to his family, it is that he is lying about it.” Vincentian journalist Jerry George made it embarrassingly clear that he did not believe the claim by Dr Harris that there was “no scintilla of evidence” to support the charge that Dr Harris had appointed family members to top civil service positions or that all his family members in government or government-controlled institutions were appointed by the previous labour party administration. George responded, “Did I believe him? No.”
Dr Harris wants us to believe that all of his brothers, sisters, and other relatives were appointed and promoted during the Dr Denzil Douglas administration, the facts are as follows:
Dr Harris became prime minister following the February 16, 2015, general elections.
- His niece, Delcia Mills-Blaize, moved quickly from being a clerk in the labour department to senior clerk, in her uncle’s office, and then executive officer from January 1, 2019.
- Harris’s sister, Janine Harris-Lake was the Registrar. She was so terrible at the job that in December 2013 she was moved to the post of director of legal reform. As soon as Dr Harris became prime minister, she was back in her old post as Registrar and the “extra” position of additional Magistrate.
- From the time Dr Harris became prime minister his other sister, Donna, moved from the legal aid unit straight to the unadvertised post of Magistrate and her power is so strong that she is on the Board of the St Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC).
- Another sister, Coretta Dr Harris, moved up the opportunity ladder from senior clerk, ministry of international trade to marketing support officer, national entrepreneurial development division with effect from November 1, 2015. She is now head of payroll in the department of human resource in the office of the prime minister.
- Brother, Lenworth Harris, on suspension from his post of general manager of the development bank, returned to the bank as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a brand new post created especially for him. Despite the conflict of interest, Lenworth ended up as a director on the St Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board and on the Committee that distributed the US$16 million given by President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela as a gratuity for ex-sugar workers.
- Brother, Denzil Harris, then a prison officer quickly became chief prison officer with effect from April 1, 2016, and has acted as superintendent of prisons.
Nepotism in real and quick time:
- The word “nepotism” comes from an Italian word for “nephew” and it did not take long for Dr Harris to appoint his nephew, Alexis Nisbett, chairman of the St Kitts-Nevis Anguilla National Bank. His nepotism continued when Dr Harris appointed his nephew’s wife, Akilah, a senator and deputy speaker of the National Assembly. Akilah is also the deputy political leader of the PLP. She is, by the way, also a director of the St Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA).
- More “nepotism” – another nephew, Big T, became a butler to Dr Harris at a monthly salary of EC$5,000.
- Then his brother in law, Jermaine Lake moved almost immediately from environmental health officer to deputy chief environmental health officer and received back pay for a post he did not have before.
- Joycelyn Mitchum, mother of one of his daughters became manager/printer at the government printery.
The sad and serious truth is that Dr Harris is not limited to the public appointments for his family but they have spread very rapidly into construction, trucking, landscaping, ice making, security, car rentals, tent, table, and chair rentals.
Dr Harris and his family will have to account for the big jobs and instant wealth. As one person, too afraid of what could happen if he gives his name, said, “You come with an idea and they jump on it. They tell you they will help, and keep you waiting for months. Next thing your idea is theirs and they run with it.”