Government and opposition in war of words

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (CMC)—A war of words has erupted between Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris and the Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas regarding the controversy that has erupted in the region after several Caribbean politicians had been implicated in a bribery scandal involving a British investor.

Speaking at a town hall meeting here on Sunday, Prime Minister Harris has dismissed calls for his resignation in the wake of the allegations and again denied any involvement in any business transaction involving Peter Virdee, whose telephone conversations with his business partner, Dieter Trutschler, in 2016, had been recorded by German authorities.

Earlier this month, a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister noted that it “has been made aware” of the media reports on the recent judgment of the English High Court.

But the statement claimed that the judgment references a period of time beginning in 2014 and that Prime Minister Harris “cannot speak to what may have occurred prior to his assumption of office of the Prime Minister on February 18th, 2015.”

Harris told the audience that his predecessor was “out of order” to call for his resignation and described the accusation and allegation as “craziness.”

Harris reiterated that he never offered or took any bribe saying, “nobody can bribe me.

“I understand hard life. I understand poverty…I understand having to wake up early in the morning and going to mango garden to get the ripest mango so I can eat for breakfast and lunch. You think champagne can change my mind?

“That’s why I don’t drink it. You think wine can impact my judgment on behalf of the people. That’s why I hardly drink it,” said Harris.

But in statement Monday, Douglas said that it was quite noticeable that Prime Minister Harris, during his “ Open Forum” did not refer to the commentary made by Queen Counsel Charles Wilkin on the controversy, but instead chose to refer to another legal opinion “which was secured at heavy expenses to the taxpayers of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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