Basseterre, St. Kitts – Political activist and talk show host Austin Edinborough has called on Caribbean leaders to disassociate themselves from the St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, embroiled in an alleged international scandal.
British tycoon, Peter Virdee and his business partner, Dieter Trutschler, have been accused by British authorities of allegedly bribing Dr. Harris and other Caribbean politicians.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Asot Michael, like Harris, is named in a judgment in a British High Court. Michael has resigned as Minister of Investment and Trade in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
“Dr. Harris also needs to address the nation because he holds the title of Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis. Instead he has compounded the alleged corruption by using tax payers’ money and staging a highly charged political charade in his constituency (May 13, 2018), aimed at fooling the people and outsiders that he commands widespread support and respect,” Edinborough told listeners to Freedom 106.5 FM.
In a challenge to other Caribbean leaders, Edinborough asked: “Would you have such a minister serving with you? If you would not, then you need to stand up and disassociate yourself from this Prime Minister Timothy Harris.”
Edinborough singled out Prime Ministers Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“(Prime Minister) Allen Chastenet of St. Lucia is his friend and I don’t know what he is going to do. I call on all of you to say to this nation and to say to the Caribbean and particularly to your own country, whether or not you would have a minister serving in your cabinet with such a dark cloud. If you do not disassociate yourself then in my opinion you are just as guilty by association,” said Edinborough.
Transcripts from surveillance recordings made by German police were handed over to the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK, which triggered their own criminal investigation into allegations of bribery by British tycoon Peter Virdee in which the names of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris and other Caribbean politicians are mentioned.
The National Crime Agency in the UK alleges Virdee and his partner conspired to bribe corrupt officials.
Two judges in London, were presented with transcripts of a conversation on 12th March, 2016, in which Peter Virdee allegedly told his business partner, Dieter Trutschler that the Prime Minister of St Kitts, Timothy Harris was in London and he was taking Harris and his entourage out for dinner that evening and then have an after-party, “so be ready for a big bill.”
Virdee also told his business partner that Harris asked him for a watch.
‘I had a very stiff conversation with him (Harris) to the point. I said ‘Listen, you have got another 3, 3 and a half years. In 2 years’ time you are going to start your election campaign, you are going to come to me and say ‘Peter Virdee, I need some election funding’ and I am going to say ‘PM I can’t help you, if I have not earned anything from this country’ and then you are going to get upset and then we are going to fall out, so it is your call, how do you want to do this?’
“I am going to have a very frank conversation with him (Dr. Harris), I mean as frank as I can get, and today’s conversation is going to be ‘Yes we are going to be in St. Kitts’ or ‘No, we are not going to be in that region’, simple, because I have not got time to go and entertain and go and meet him at airports and take him out for lunches and take eight of them out for dinner, and buy him a watch and buy him (Dr. Harris) this and buy him shoes. I haven’t got time for that.”