St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The federation’s Prime Minister faced a range of questions from citizens on Tuesday (March 14).
Prime Minister Timothy Harris was the guest on WINN FM’s Voices programme, and callers focused on issues related to his large number of portfolios that include Finance, National Security, Sustainable Development, People Empowerment and Constituency Empowerment.
One caller presumed to be a national living abroad commented on what he argued was the unnecessarily high number of police stations in the federation, and how he believed they were obstructing justice.
“Where I live has more people than St. Kitts-Nevis, and we have three police precincts. In other words, we do not need all these police stations. Right now St. Paul’s is out of the equation, and everything seems to be running fine. St. Kitts needs three police stations: the main police headquarters, a zone A and zone B, and that’s it. To retrofit all of these police stations – that is like sinking money into a deep hole.”
At the insistence of a particular caller, Dr Harris detailed how the government intended to expand the dialogue on legalizing marijuana.
“It is fraudulent to our human rights, and we are serious when we are challenging [the parliament] in your own court, not only human rights, but a fundamental one, is our right to use cannabis, marijuana.”
“We are ready to dialogue; indeed we have always been. And I did say, when I spoke last on this that this is a matter for national consultation. I am happy to report that since that time, we have a submission going to the cabinet, hopefully next week, where we are attempting to set up that broad base committee that will look at all the issues involved in the use of marijuana, and all other matters in relation to it.”
Another caller inquired about the allocation of debts of the LaValle project within the government, Whitegate and also raised the issue of re-opening the National Bank of Saddlers.
Prime Minister Harris promptly answered these questions.
“The matter to do with the National Bank, to me, it has left a void for the community of Saddlers and the adjoining communities, and it is a matter we would hope would be rectified positively, for the people, and in the people’s interest. In that regard, I have written to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Bank, and asked them to look at this matter and advise us, and so I await a response. Interestingly, it is only this week that I pen such a letter, as part of our efforts to follow through on a number of concerns which have come from the people’s forum, that is the town hall meetings.”
“Critically, who owns the debt of LaValle? LaValle, in the end, was a public sector corporation, and ultimately all the debts of these corporations will fall to the public purse, and to the public treasury. Is it still part of Whitegate? We have had some issues there that are being navigated and perhaps next time we speak on this matter, we are going to be able to deal with this issue. Whitegate and its dormancy, yes it is something that I have to speak to the new board about, but it is doing at least, one project with tourism, at Belle Vue, the renovation and upgrades at Belle Vue is a joint venture between Whitegate and the tourism department or tourism authority
There were also a few callers who criticized the Prime Minister for allegedly not being transparent and seeking to erase his past history with the former Douglas-led administration.
The prime minister rejected those criticisms, and urged citizens to look to what his ministry has done, and the future of the nation, rather than his involvement in the former government. “And the Timothy Harris then, must be different to the Timothy Harris now, in terms of the way in which we run government, because there was a problem with the way in which we ran government then, which led to the political earthquake, if you will, in relation to the new dispensation which we have. So I make no apologies, indeed I am not afraid of the past, and it is the future that is prodding me along. It is the future, and how I can make a better future for the young people of St. Kitts and Nevis of all levels, all classes, all creeds, that is what is inspiring me to wake up, to come to work, and put in more than usual – to make St. Kitts and Nevis a better place.”
Prime Minister Timothy Harris, responding to questions on WINN FM’s Voices programme Tuesday (March 14).