Categorized | Local, News, Regional

PM Harris ‘Seizes’ SIDF Funds?

St. Kitts & Nevis Observer

By by LK Hewlett

sidf-logoAs one of his first acts as Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris appears to be taking control of the controversial Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).

Newly sworn in Attorney General Hon. Vincent Byron Jr. announced Thursday (Feb 19) that during his first day in Office Dr. Harris he gave instructions to Financial Secretary Hilary Hazel that “all transactions involving the SIDF should be halted until further notice”.

The SIDF has been touted by former PM Dr. Denzil Douglas as a private foundation outside the ambit of government oversight. The Fund has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of St. Kitts-Nevis citizenship for up to US $400,000 cash per citizenship. The citizenship by sale recipients qualify to obtain St. Kitts-Nevis passports.

When Dr. Harris and his then opposition colleagues clamored for the publication of the SIDF accounts, Dr. Douglas claimed the government could not force a private trust to do so.

Then Opposition members accused Dr. Douglas of being in control of the funds in the SIDF and using them to bankroll his Labour Party election campaigns. Dr. Douglas was also accused of being behind the SIDF pumping US $16 million into a struggling foreign-owned development Christophe Harbour, and US $16 million to yet another such project, Kittitian Hill.

Dr. Harris had indicated to The Observer while in opposition that a government of Team Unity would endeavor to make the funds in the private SIDF fund part of the government’s revenue in the Consolidated Fund.

The SIDF was founded in September 2006 by the National Bank Trust Company. The National Bank Trust Company is a subsidiary of the St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank, which is a public limited company with the majority shareholder being the Federal Government of St. Kitts & Nevis.

The Fund is administered by a four-member Board of Councilors- Chairperson Dr. Hermia Morton-Anthony, attorney Hesketh Benjamin, Chief Cabinet Secretary in the then Douglas-led administration Joseph Edmeade, and Ambassador Roslyn Hazelle. The SIDF Chief Executive Officer is Terrence Crossman.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

St. Kitts & Nevis Observer

By by LK Hewlett

sidf-logoAs one of his first acts as Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris appears to be taking control of the controversial Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).

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Newly sworn in Attorney General Hon. Vincent Byron Jr. announced Thursday (Feb 19) that during his first day in Office Dr. Harris he gave instructions to Financial Secretary Hilary Hazel that “all transactions involving the SIDF should be halted until further notice”.

The SIDF has been touted by former PM Dr. Denzil Douglas as a private foundation outside the ambit of government oversight. The Fund has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of St. Kitts-Nevis citizenship for up to US $400,000 cash per citizenship. The citizenship by sale recipients qualify to obtain St. Kitts-Nevis passports.

When Dr. Harris and his then opposition colleagues clamored for the publication of the SIDF accounts, Dr. Douglas claimed the government could not force a private trust to do so.

Then Opposition members accused Dr. Douglas of being in control of the funds in the SIDF and using them to bankroll his Labour Party election campaigns. Dr. Douglas was also accused of being behind the SIDF pumping US $16 million into a struggling foreign-owned development Christophe Harbour, and US $16 million to yet another such project, Kittitian Hill.

Dr. Harris had indicated to The Observer while in opposition that a government of Team Unity would endeavor to make the funds in the private SIDF fund part of the government’s revenue in the Consolidated Fund.

The SIDF was founded in September 2006 by the National Bank Trust Company. The National Bank Trust Company is a subsidiary of the St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank, which is a public limited company with the majority shareholder being the Federal Government of St. Kitts & Nevis.

The Fund is administered by a four-member Board of Councilors- Chairperson Dr. Hermia Morton-Anthony, attorney Hesketh Benjamin, Chief Cabinet Secretary in the then Douglas-led administration Joseph Edmeade, and Ambassador Roslyn Hazelle. The SIDF Chief Executive Officer is Terrence Crossman.