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Harvey family demand answers from Premier after disgraced senator stands down

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Disgraced: Curtis Richardson (File photograph)

The family of an elderly woman owed $19,000 in rent by disgraced senator Curtis Richardson demanded an explanation from the Premier yesterday on why he ignored their warnings about the debt and appointed him to the Upper House.

Ms Harvey’s daughter, Margot Harvey, a doctor, who represented her mother in the Supreme Court, said the family wanted answers from the Premier as soon as possible.

Dr Harvey said: “We would like to know why he promoted him to the Senate and positions of great respect.

“We presented the facts to the Premier. We just wanted him to start making payments.

“He was working and he did not pay us — that was the insulting thing.

“The Premier needs to explain why he promoted him to the Senate and give more detail on the situation.”

Dr Harvey was speaking after the Government announced that Mr Richardson would quit his Senate seat and his role as junior national security minister next week after news of his debts sparked anger across the island.

She said her mother was pleased that Mr Richardson had stood down.

Dr Harvey added: “She was really happy because that was one of the things that was most distressing — that he was the public face of the party and wasn’t being upstanding.”

The case came to light after Margaret Harvey, who is in her seventies, broke down in tears as she spoke of the health toll her two-year legal battle to get the money owed by Mr Richardson had taken.

The Harvey family contacted the Premier through Major Marc Telemaque, the Cabinet Secretary, in May 2020, and in September that year to alert him to the rent arrears row.

But, just weeks after the second e-mail, Mr Burt appointed Mr Richardson, a taxi driver, to the Senate and junior ministerial posts for health and national security for which he received more than $30,000 a year.

Margot Harvey (File photograph)

Dr Harvey said: “Mr Richardson paid us $1,100 in September 2020, and then nothing until he paid $300 in July 2021 — that’s all the money we got from him.

”And this is when he was receiving his senator money — that’s the insult.

“I would like the questions The Royal Gazette put to the Premier answered by him.”

The Department of Financial Assistance paid the family $1,163 per month for September, October and November of 2020.

Major Telemaque replied to the family’s first e-mail and said it was a private matter.

He told the family after the September e-mail: “I’m sorry this is not resolved. I have made the Premier aware and I expect he will address the matter directly with Mr Richardson in his capacity as party leader.”

David Burt, the Premier (File photograph)

Mr Burt appointed Mr Richardson to the Upper House and his junior ministerial posts a month later.

The Gazette has several times asked Mr Burt to explain why he took the decision, if he did “address the matter” with Mr Richardson and what he said to him.

Mr Burt has failed to answer the questions.

Mr Burt, when he announced Mr Richardson’s resignation, confirmed a Gazette report that he had been aware of the debt row when he appointed the failed Progressive Labour Party General Election candidate to the posts.

Mr Burt said: “Upon Curtis's appointment, I was aware of the debt and gave instructions that it must be addressed.”

The resignation came after a denunciation of Mr Richardson by the Reverend Nicholas Tweed at St Paul AME Church in Hamilton last Sunday.

Mr Tweed accused the Premier and the other 29 PLP MPs of a failure to show moral leadership.

The churchman highlighted Ms Harvey’s claim that Mr Richardson had told her his “affiliation” would make sure he won any court battle.

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