BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 8, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris says the Government of National Unity has once again been thrusted into a bad situation inherited from the former Denzil Douglas-led administration. However, the Team Unity Administration will – as it always does – conform to the rule of law.
The Honourable Prime Minister was speaking specifically on the matter surrounding a Chinese national, who is on Interpol’s Wanted List and was granted citizenship under the country’s CBI program back in 2013.
Appearing on Sugar City 90.3 FM’s The People’s Voice program with host His Excellency Ambassador Michael Powell earlier today, Monday, May 08, 2017, Prime Minister Harris reiterated that the Chinese citizen in question was granted St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by the former administration.
Dr. Harris stated that, in 2014, the Denzil Douglas administration was adequately informed by Interpol of the Chinese national’s pending arrival in St. Kitts and Nevis, and this gave the former prime minister ample notice to take the necessary action.
Prime Minister Harris added: “In the report, which was submitted in July of 2014 by the Interpol authorities in Washington, DC, they gave the Denzil Douglas administration the name of the Chinese that was coming, the date of birth; they told the Denzil Douglas administration that the parties were traveling on British Airways Flight 2157 from London, Gatwick [Airport] to St. Kitts with a layover in Antigua. The flight was due to arrive at 15:30. This information [was relayed] to the Denzil Douglas administration for them to take necessary action and to advise Interpol [of said action].”
Prime Minister Harris continued: “If the gentleman and the lady were here as citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis and Douglas had this notice, this warning…from Interpol, Douglas ought to be ashamed of himself to now be talking about these same persons. For if there was anyone who had harboured them, it would have been the Denzil Douglas administration.”
Furthermore, Dr. Harris stressed that the passports issued in the situation in question did not bear the country of origin field, despite earlier warnings from the United States Government.
“The Denzil Douglas administration gave them passports that hid their country of origin. Why did the Denzil Douglas administration do that? It was a serious and dangerous act on behalf of the Denzil Douglas administration and they were warned by the US government not to issue passports, which did not bear the country of origin field,” Prime Minister said.
During his March 9th, 2017 monthly press conference, Prime Minister Harris said that records provided by the Canadian Bank Note (CBN) stated that some 15,197 regular passports, 91 diplomatic and 39 official passports were issued without the country of birth field by the Douglas-led administration.
“My Government has taken the decision to deactivate all passports issued by the former government without the country of birth field. All such holders will have to reapply for a new passport with the relevant country of birth field and they will pay the cost of the new passport,” the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis said on March 9th.
“This is an imperative to safeguard the integrity of our passport, to comply with international best practices, and to satisfy our commitment to being a responsible member of the international community,” Prime Minister Harris added.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently commended the Team Unity Government for making “significant efforts to strengthen the CBI Program…as this is essential to reduce integrity and security risks, preserve the program’s credibility, and avoid a race-to-the-bottom.”