March 5, 2000
Crime, corruption, drugs: St. Kitts ends lively election campaign

                   SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Supporters of Prime Minister Denzil
                   Douglas of St. Kitts and Nevis are banking on the surprise deportation of a
                   drug trafficker long wanted by the United States to help propel Douglas to
                   an election victory.

                   Douglas and his Labor Party square off against former Prime Minister
                   Kennedy Simmonds and the People's Action Movement in voting Monday
                   in the twin-island eastern Caribbean federation. More than 34,000 of the
                   48,000 islanders are registered to vote.

                   Douglas' cause was bolstered by the February 19 deportation to Miami of
                   Charles "Little Nut" Miller, for years the bane of many St. Kittitians and a
                   man who for four years defied U.S. attempts to extradite him .

                   Miller -- an alleged hitman of the notorious Shower Posse drug gang that
                   operated in Jamaica and Florida -- was wanted in connection with a half-ton
                   shipment of cocaine to Florida in 1995. After years of living openly on an
                   island where he intimidated many, Miller's extradition delivered a welcome
                   sense of relief.

                   "It is as if a noose has been removed from the neck of a lot of people," said
                   Police Commissioner Calvin Fahie.

                   Miller, also known as Cecil Connor, made headlines in 1998 when the U.S.
                   State Department warned that he had threatened to kill American students
                   attending the Ross University Veterinary School on St. Kitts if he were
                   deported. Miller's ostentatious mansion sits just down the road from the

                   Miller denied making the threat, but U.S. diplomatic security officials were
                   sent to monitor the situation.

                   Stanley Dennis, dean of the 400-student school, said he was unaware of any
                   new threats after Miller's extradition.

                   "It's business as usual," he said. "We're just watching things carefully."

                   Miller's days of refuge ended after several threatening incidents, including a
                   Jan. 21 shoot out with an associate. Miller was charged with shooting with
                   intent and released on bail.

                   A few weeks later, he walked into The Observer newspaper office with a
                   gun in his belt to complain about coverage about him, then took a reporter's
                   tape of the interview.

                   Soon after, he was charged with assault after allegedly trying to extort
                   money from a foreign hotel investor.

                   Inside Miller's red BMW, police found an Uzi submachine gun, a Colt
                   firearm, 100 rounds of ammunition and a small amount of marijuana, Fahie

                   "He had become a threat to society," said Observer publisher Kenneth
                   Williams, who maintains that the newspaper's Nevis office was firebombed
                   in 1997 in retaliation for stories about Miller. "He was a fellow who wanted
                   to prove to people he ruled the islands."

                   At a February 17 court hearing, Miller unexpectedly waived his right to
                   extradition. Two days later, he was aboard a U.S. Customs Service jet to

                   The extradition helped Douglas counter allegations that Miller had financed
                   his 1995 election campaign. And it bolstered Douglas' claims that his
                   administration was tough on crime.

                   But Miller had created problems before. A major shipment of cocaine
                   related to his case led to the collapse of Simmonds' government, the killings
                   of the then-deputy premier's son and his girlfriend, and early elections in

                   Police Superintendent Jude Matthew, the lead investigator, was shot and
                   killed. Miller was not charged with the crime.

                   In Monday's election, Douglas' party wants to cement its control of the
                   11-member National Assembly, in which it has seven seats. It points to new
                   resort construction in tourism-dependent St. Kitts and rising public salaries.

                   Simmonds points to failed efforts to rejuvenate the sugar industry and a
                   $192 million debt. Douglas blames five hurricanes that have slammed the
                   islands in four years.

                   "The issues are the collapse of the economy and the excessive debt, which
                   we will inherit by next week," Simmonds said in an interview.

                    Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.