PM Harris Team Unity Government continues human rights abuse by denying Labour Party use of community centers

Basseterre, St Kitts, August 22, 2019 – The Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government continues to deny the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party use of community centres, despite a United States Department of State report that says such denial amounts to an abuse of human rights.
“We in Constituency #8 cannot use the community centres to have our meetings as a Labour Party and as an opposition which represents people in Parliament,” Dr Terrance Drew, the SKNLP candidate said on Freedom 106.5 FM Issues programme on Wednesday.
He pointed out that it was unfair and undemocratic for the governing coalition parties only to have access to the community centres built by the tax payers of St Kitts and Nevis.
The Human Rights Report on St Kitts and Nevis released by United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in March noted that the St Kitts and Nevis constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly and association, but that in St Kitts and Nevis, “opposition parties and media, however, reported incidents in which the exercise of these rights was restricted.”
“For example, in February the government banned the opposition St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party from using public facilities,” said the US Department of State Human Rights Report.
In March last year, the Acting Director of the Department of Community Development, Anne Wigley informed the opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) that it cannot use the community centers in St. Kitts to have discussions on national issues with citizens and residents.
Dr Drew also staged a demonstration after he was locked out of and denied use of the St Peters’ Community Center last year.
The SKNLP during its term in government from July 1995 to February 2015, gave permission to opposition parties including Harris’ then coalition opposition and the People’s Action Movement (PAM), to use the community centres.
As late as 2014, the then opposition Team Unity led by Harris held a series of meetings and permission was given by the Labour Government to hold meetings on May 6th at the New Town Community Centfre in East Basseterre, the St. Johnston Community Centre in West Basseterre on 9th May, the Edgar Gilbert Sports Complex on May 15th; the Conaree Community Centre on June 1st and the Challengers Community Centre on June 5th.
It was under the SKNLP administration of the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas that several community centres were constructed with the financial assistance of the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Letters to Prime Minister Harris and letters and meetings with non-governmental organisations including the St Kitts Christian Council, the St Kitts Evangelical Association and the St Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce have not resulted in positive results.

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