Basseterre, St Kitts, 14 August 2013. Self appointed leader of the Peoples Labour Party, Dr Timothy Harris launched an all out attack on the goodwill of the Republic of Cuba in remarks at a recent political meeting in which he implied that Kittitians and Nevisians who are educated in Cuba were also indoctrinated in Communism and are now trying to take over the country.
Dr Harris went on to make unsavory comments about the quality of life in Cuba and the leader of that country by saying, “when you are in Castro land you do what Castro say, and if he says eat potato you eat potato, if he says eat rice, you eat rice, you better eat the rice and no say the grain hard.
He then singled out Dr Vance Gilbert, Dr Norgen Wilson and Dr Terrence Drew, by saying three young Cuban trained doctors were “indoctrinated in communism” and “They understand dictatorship and I’m not surprised if they want to practice it here”.
The public has expressed outrage at his comments, in particular those whose family members have benefited from the generosity of the Cuban Government and people and have called for a public apology.
A family member of a Cuban scholarship recipient said the leader of the PLP overlooked the benefits of a quality college education that has been afforded to citizens of St Kitts and Nevis from the Republic of Cuba.
Upon hearing the comments, Dr Gilbert said, it is unfortunate that such comments were made, but even more unfortunate, that they were made by a former Foreign Minister. Dr Gilbert went on to further state, that his educational experience in Cuba, helped him to better understand what it is to be a true patriot, and really helped to awaken his desire to serve St Kitts and Nevis in every capacity upon his return.
Addressing the remarks made by Dr Harris, Dr Wilson said, he apologizes to the people of Cuba for the comments made by the former Minister, and stated that, Cuba has shared what they have with the people of the Federation through Education and Health Care. He went on to say, friends do not speak ill of friends, no matter the context. He said, Dr Harris’ comments clearly shows he is not ready to lead.
A member of the Cuban Students Alumni Association also expressed disappointment with the remarks made by Dr Harris and stated, “the comments display a level of insensitivity, ungratefulness and a disconnect of Dr Harris with regards to the international relationship of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis and its international partners.”
Over 100 persons from St Kitts and Nevis have studied at Cuban Colleges and University in fields ranging from Accounting to Civil Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry. Some have specialized in areas such as Pharmacology, Radiology and Pathology.
Dr Harris was a member of the St Kitts Nevis Labour Party, a member of cabinet and served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs.