BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Monday May 20, 2019 – Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris has refuted claims that he had a meeting with heir to the Coca Cola fortune, billionaire Alkiviades ‘Alki’ David, who is facing drug charges in the twin-island federation.
David left St Kitts last week on bail after being slapped with charges of possession, intent to supply and importation of cannabis. That followed the discovery of 5,000 cannabis plants, seeds, and cannabidiol on his private jet when he arrived in the country along with American businessman Chase Ergen, with whom he is in a cannabis business venture. He had travelled to St Kitts at the invitation of former Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas
to meet about developing a major hemp farming operation on the island.
The 51-year-old investor claimed he was charged on the heels of a meeting with Harris at the Park Hyatt two Sundays ago, at which the Prime Minister asked him to do something he did not want to do.
But speaking on local radio, Harris said he was in Costa Rica until May 8 [David was first arrested on May 7 when he arrived and charged on May 9], and indicated that he only had an encounter with him at the Park Hyatt on his return to the island.
The Prime Minister dismissed David’s claim of having a meeting with him as “malicious”, saying he never organized or engaged in any talks with either the billionaire or any of his associates. He made it clear that he does not have, and never has had, any form of relationship, whether personal or otherwise, with David or Ergen.
“On Sunday [May 12] I had reason to be at the Park Hyatt [where] I was accosted by a gentleman, who in the end identified himself as Mr David and we had an interaction for about a minute and a half,” Harris recalled, noting that in that short space of time David struck him as an unstable and unbalanced individual, particularly in the manner in which he approached the leader of a country.
Harris further explained that David complained about his arrest at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport, to which he responded, “If you come to a country and you don’t know the laws you should consult with your lawyer or the Government.”
The Prime Minister said it was at that point that his intended guest arrived and David walked away.
Harris also distanced himself from Ergen, whom is also known as Charles Edwards.
“Charles Edwards is a personality from whom you keep 10 miles, for Mr Edwards has shown a temperament that would not encourage anyone to attempt to have even a conversation with him and I have not had a conversation with Mr Ergen on his visit here in St. Kitts of recent vintage. I have had reason in the past to intervene because Mr Edwards was the subject of an Interpol investigation and as a consequence of that I had given direction that the St. Kitts and Nevis passport that he held and which he obtained from [then Prime Minister] Denzil Douglas in 2010, that that passport and any subsequent one that he had, that they had to be disabled and the Interpol be notified, and we did that really to prevent any reputational damage to St Kitts and Nevis,” he said.
Lawmen in St Kitts said Ergen has been charged with use of threatening language, resisting arrest, and battery on police. The offences were allegedly committed at the Park Hyatt on the same day Prime Minister Harris said he encountered David.