Duty-free concessions to PM Harris’ family members and friends bleeding the Treasury, says Dr. Douglas

By:Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 14, 2017 – Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says duty-free concessions to every family member and close friends have led to significant reduction in revenue streams into the Consolidated Fund of the Federal Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“We have seen a situation where the revenue collected is significantly down, expenditure has continued and naturally the IMF is going to insist that you have rely on steady streams of income which are taxes,” said Dr. Douglas, a former prime minister and minister of finance.

Dr. Douglas pointed out that during the parliamentary debate last December on the 2017 Budget, he told the nation that Dr. Harris was deliberately misleading the nation and based on the estimates presented, the country should expect a “deceleration of growth” which has been since being confirmed by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Dr. Douglas said when his administration demitted office in mid-February 2015, over EC$800 million was left in the Treasury.

“The collection of revenue is not there. The spending continues unabated because he (Dr. Harris) has to pay for the political support of the two CCM-members of the coalition government,” said Dr. Douglas.

“There has been a complete breakdown in giving duty-free concessions under this administration,” said Dr. Douglas.

“Duty-free concessions during my administration were policy-based. A policy was in place. It was not something that a prime minister or a minister of finance can simply play with at his whim and fancy. It cannot be that his aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, friends or those who might have given him large sums of money for an election campaign and duty-free concessions are given,” said Dr. Douglas.

“It does not and it should not work like that,” said Dr. Douglas.

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