By story-editor – December 31, 2018
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (St.Kitts-Nevis Observer) — Former Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and current Leader of the Opposition, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, heads a list of notable people who have been barred or excluded from the United States of America by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which handles deportation in the United States, often in conjunction with advice from the US Department of State.
According to DHS, “Former Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Denzil Douglas, had his visa to enter the United States revoked in January 2015. This was because of his lax citizenship by investment controls which allowed the participation of illicit people, including individuals intending to use the secondary citizenship to evade US sanctions, who were then obtaining SKN passports with relative ease.”
Dr. Douglas’ name appears on the list among other notable figures including Hamid Aboutalebi, Iranian diplomat and envoy to the United States; Gerry Adams, Irish Republican, later President of Sinn Fein; Lily Allen, British singer; Luke Angel, a British teen who sent a curse-laden e-mail message to the White House directed at President Obama; Kurt Blome, A German microbiologist and Nazi scientist; Boy George, British Singer and fashion designer, whose real name is George O’Dowd; Hortensia Bussi de Allende, Widow of Chilean President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown; Pete Doherty, British singer; Kyle Falconer, Scottish lead singer for The View; William “Leffen” Hjelte, Swedish professional Super Smash Bros. Melee player; Diego Maradona, Former Argentine soccer player and coach; and Nelson Mandela, South African Revolutionary and later president of South Africa—ban was later lifted. Other notable personalities appear on the list.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of St. Kitts and Nevis, The Honourable Mark Brantley, recently mentioned in the National Assembly on Dec. 19 that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Advisory from the United States Treasury, issued on May 20, 2014, stated that under the former Dr. Douglas-led Administration there was abuse of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme and that passports obtained through the St. Kitts and Nevis CBI programme were used to facilitate financial crimes.
Part of the FinCEN Advisory read: “While many countries offer programs similar to the SKN Citizenship-by-Investment program, the SKN program is attractive to illicit actors because the program, as administered, maintains lax controls as to who may be granted citizenship. While the SKN government has publicly pledged to improve these controls, FinCEN believes that they remain ineffective. For example, in 2013 the SKN government announced that all Iranian nationals were suspended from participating in the SKN Citizenship-by-Investment program. Despite this public assurance, FinCEN believes that Iranian nationals continue to obtain passports issued through the program. As a result of these lax controls, illicit actors, including individuals intending to use the secondary citizenship to evade sanctions, can obtain an SKN passport with relative ease.”
Minister Bradley also mentioned that for the very same issue of lax controls as to who may be granted citizenship, Canada removed its visa waiver for St. Kitts and Nevis. However, the Foreign Minister said that the Federation is re-engaging with Canada in a “meaningful way” and that the Team Unity Administration has restored the integrity of the CBI programme, which now has “one of the most robust due due-diligence of any CBI programme in the world.”
Dr. Douglas has never acknowledged that his US visa was revoked and that he has been barred from entering the United States.
However, an article appeared in the Jamaica Observer newspaper, dated March 18, 2015– “Report: US Confirms revocation of Denzil Douglas’ diplomatic visa.”
“Contrary to denials by the former prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Denzil Douglas, that his United States diplomatic visa had been revoked prior to last month’s general elections, US officials have reportedly confirmed that the revocation was part of a gradual process, although not done deliberately to coincide with the election campaign,” the Jamaica Observer stated.
“Douglas has refuted the claims that his US visa was revoked, stating that the whole story is untrue and simply an effort to tarnish his reputation,” the Jamaica Observer added.
In commenting on the revocation of the visa by the US government, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis has always said that “The United States, the most powerful country in the world, determined that Denzil Douglas was improper and unfit to be accorded a US diplomatic visa and it is a shame and scandal for any national leader to have had such a condemnation put on him.”