The St. Kitts and Nevis opposition leader has expressed concern for the levels of corruption in procurement requirements during his budget response.

Dr. Denzil Douglas, former prime minister and leader of the opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis, queried the recent increase in the construction cost for the new cruise pier at Port Zante.

“It is quite possible only a small portion of this money is reaching the projects that they are intended to finance. The rest may be lining the pockets of public personalities as well as their cronies and families,” Dr. Douglas said.

“The original estimates for this pier was some US$16 million. Before I left office, the government received a proposal for the construction of the pier, but we were concerned about the elevation to the cost to some US$30 million. We therefore decided to renegotiate or evaluate other options. We now learn that the pier will cost our people some US$46 million. If that is true, then the government needs to explain to our people where the extra US$16 million will go,” said Dr. Douglas.

Mr. Konris Maynard, the West Basseterre MP, recently questioned the new price tag of the new cruise pier.

“All was ready to go at a cost of US$32 million when the government changed. Today, the pier is now three years delayed, jeopardising the expected increase of cruise arrivals that the Labour Government had prepared. Worst than that, the cost has unexplainably ballooned to US$48 million,” Mr. Maynard told reporters.

“We are told that ministers of government have been setting up cement and other companies first overtly but now covertly to directly benefit.”