SIDF operated unconstitutionally under Douglas Administration, says prominent lawyer

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 22, 2015 (SKNIS)—A prominent attorney in St. Kitts and Nevis has charged that the former Douglas Administration set up and operated the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) in breach of section 69 of the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution.

Charles Wilkin, Q.C., speaking at the 2015 National Consultation on the Economy at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on October 22 under the theme “Changing Lives—A Fresh Start Towards Sustainable Development, Growth and Prosperity”  said that he hopes that the ruling Government of National Unity will abide by the Constitution with respect to the SIDF.

“I hope that the decisions that the Government makes as to its future (the SIDF) bear in mind that it was operated in breach of section 69 of the Constitution,” Q.C. Wilkin said.

Chapter Six, Section 69 of the Constitution under the heading Finance and sub-heading the Consolidated Fund reads: “All revenue or other moneys raised or received by the Government (not being revenues or other moneys that are payable by or under any law, into some fund of the Government established for a specific purpose) shall be paid into and form a Consolidated Fund.”

While in opposition, the present Government had argued long and hard that former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas and his team were in contravention of the Constitution and that Dr. Douglas was using the moneys paid into the SIDF under the Citizenship-by-Investment Programme as a slush fund as he saw fit. He was accused of mismanaging the moneys in the SIDF and a lack of transparency in not publishing the accounts for a number of years. This lead to much public suspicion and allegations of profligate spending in a last minute bid to hold on to power at all cost.

The Government of National Unity has embarked on a path to transform the Citizenship-by-Investment Programme and has promised that there will be greater oversight of the SIDF by making it a part of the Consolidated Fund.

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