Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 20, 2022 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis remains firmly committed to abiding by the Rule of Law. Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Hon. Garth Wilkin, during his presentation in the National Assembly on December 19th, 2022, made some startling revelations in relation to the procurement process under the former Dr. Timothy Harris-led Administration.
“In taking office in August of this year, we have seen the stark and direct evidence of too many shocking examples of men and women previously in office mistreating people, breaking the laws of our land, and abusing the Treasury, all examples of the Rule of Man. I say this loudly, clearly and without fear nor favor, the Rule of Law was absent in St. Kitts and Nevis prior to August 5, 2022. The Rule of Man is the former administration issuing contracts to their friends and family members bypassing the mandatory legislative procurement process. For example, Open Interactive Inc was paid $11.7 Million by the Unity Administration from our treasury between 2015 and 2022. That’s an average of $1.8 Million per year or $153,000 per month. No other IT companies or similar service providers had the opportunity to bid for these contracts. That is the Rule of Man not the Rule of Law,” said Attorney General Wilkin.
The Attorney General noted that the Procurement Act of St. Kitts and Nevis outlines that there should be a competitive bidding process for all public contracts to ensure that the government gets value for money. It is important to note that it is illegal to spend money from the Treasury without following the procurement process.
“The Procurement Act makes it a crime to spend money from the Treasury without following the proper procurement process. But, for the last administration, the law was of no concern. Greed was the only emotion that guided their decisions. $153,000 per month for seven (7) years and where is the E-Government that was talked about? As we peel the layers deeper, we then discover that nine (9) STEP workers, people paid by the government were working for that same company…You have to know what is wrong to know what is right,” said Attorney General Wilkin.
Several other instances of irregularities were also unearthed by the Attorney General during his presentation in the National Assembly. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis plans to strengthen domestic legislative frameworks to hold public officials accountable.