Powell told to pay back the value of the “perks” to taxpayers

BASSETERRE, ST KITTS – St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party parliamentarian has called on Ambassador and Youth and Cultural Advisor, Jonel Powell to return “the perks” received while waiting for the Instrument of Appointment as a non-accredited diplomat.
Powell announced publicly that 12 months after Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris designated him as an Ambassador on May 27th 2015, he is yet to receive his Instrument of appointment and has returned the diplomatic passport issued to him and which he has been travelling on.
He told a local media house that over the course of the past 12 months he has had several meetings with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards, Attorney General Vincent Byron Jr. and Cabinet Secretary Josephine Huggins to address the matter and to date the issue remains unresolved although he has been “enjoying the perks” which come with the position.
But Liburd, who defeated Powell in the 2015 General Election for the Central Basseterre seat wants Powell to pay back the value of these perks into the Treasury.”
“It means he has been collecting them when he was not officially an Ambassador and has been collecting them falsely. It is taxpayers’ money and you would have to receive them in a legitimate way. He also has to pay duty on his top of the line BMW because he imported it duty-free in his capacity as an ambassador and the duty is in the region of $100, 000,” said Liburd on Wednesday during Freedom FM’s 106.5 “Issues” programme.
Liburd, an attorney and the chairperson the opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party also wants Powell, also a lawyer, monies used to travel overseas to several countries including Taiwan, Jamaica and Dubai ‘enjoying the benefits of the perks’ of an ambassador when he was not an ambassador.
She is of the view that the country needs an apology and wanted to know if other persons announced as ambassadors were in a similar situation as Powell.
“Does Michael Powell have an Instrument of Appointment? Does Sidney Osborne have an instrument of appointment? Does Constance Mitcham have an Instrument of appointment? If not then these persons will have to return the monies that they have been collecting and pay duty on the vehicles they imported duty-free,” said Liburd.
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