Basseterre, St. Kitts, –West Basseterre Member of Parliament and the youngest parliamentary representative in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, Hon. Konris Maynard has called on Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris “to do what is right and honourable.”
He called on Dr. Harris to provide former prime minister and current Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas a diplomatic passport and the release of the necessary financing approved by the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly for the operation of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition.
“Why in God’s name after two and a half years of a government, which claims to be a new government, with a new paradigm claiming to be an all-inclusive fair share government, why on earth would they withhold resources from the Leader of the Opposition? Why is it that the most distinguished prime minister in the Caribbean, cannot be given a Diplomatic Passport, by his own country?” asked Maynard during Wednesday’s “Issues” programme on Freedom 106.5 FM. Other opposition MP’s have not been given diplomatic passports.
He told listeners he recently attended an official regional forum in Barbados and submitted his regular St. Kitts and Nevis passport at the port of entry.
“When I gave the immigration officer my regular passport, I was asked if this is the passport I want to use as she realised that I was a Member of Parliament. I told her ‘yes’. She did not even know I was never issued a Diplomatic Passport. All of my colleague MP’s flashed their Diplomatic passports. On my departure I saw a Kittitian who is not in Parliament, who no one voted for and who was on the same fight with me sporting a St. Kitts and Nevis Diplomatic Passport. And it is not someone who has official duties,” Maynard related. He declined to disclose the name of the individual.
Maynard disclosed even an official at the United States Embassy in Barbados on renewing his visitor’s visa and aware that he is a Member of Parliament in St. Kitts and Nevis “ask me if this is the type of visa that I want.”
“Prime Minister Timothy Harris cannot offer the longest serving prime minister, regardless of his personal feelings about Dr. Douglas a diplomatic passport? Dr. Harris could not offer Dr. Douglas duty-free concession to import a new car in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition? Dr. Harris cannot provide an office to Dr. Douglas as the new Leader of the Opposition to work from?” said Maynard, a first term Member of Parliament, who sits on the opposition benches. Dr. Douglas in his capacity as prime minister had approved duty free vehicles and diplomatic passports for opposition parliamentarians. On becoming Leader of the Opposition in mid-February 2015, Dr. Harris refused to grant concession to Dr. Douglas when he imported a new vehicle.
Maynard said Prime Minister Harris “is our prime minister. We cannot change that and when the tables turn and any respect that is due to him when he leaves office after the next election, he will get and I know my colleagues will agree.”
He lamented that a policy paper that guides privileges for current and past Members of Parliament and Heads of States adopted by the previous Denzil Douglas Labour administration “has been thrown out the window by the Timothy Harris administration.”
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), caretaker for St, Christopher 8, Dr. Terrance Drew, who also appeared on the radio programme noted that during Dr. Douglas’ near 20 year tenure as Prime Minister, diplomatic passports were provided to Leaders of the Opposition, as well as former Prime Minister Sir Kennedy Simmonds and his wife, Lady Simmonds.
“The opposition is part of the good governance structure in a democracy. Monies are appropriated to ensure there is an Office of the Leader of the Opposition,” said Dr. Drew, pointing out that nearly three years since the mid-February 2015 general election, Prime Minister Harris has not allowed the financing of an office for the opposition leader and has also refused to provide the Leader of the Opposition with a Diplomatic passport.
In 2004, Queen Elizabeth the Second accepted the recommendation of then Prime Minister Douglas and conferred the honour of Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St. George on Sir Kennedy in 2004. Douglas’ Labour Party defeated Dr. Simmonds’ People’s Action Movement (PAM) in the 1995 General Election and the 2000. Election. Dr. Simmonds who lost his Central Basseterre seat in 1995 and failed to regain it in 2000, retired from active politics before the 2004 election.