Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris speaking on Sugar City 90.3FM’s The People’s Voice programme.
ST. KITTS–Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Timothy Harris says the Government of National Unity has once again been thrust into a bad situation inherited from the former Dr. Denzil Douglas-led administration. However, the Team Unity Administration will – as it always does – conform to the rule of law. The PM 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 Citizen by Investment (CBI) programme. Appearing on Sugar City 90.3FM’s The People’s Voice programme with host Ambassador Michael Powell on Monday, May 8, PM 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 Douglas administration was adequately informed by Interpol of the Chinese national’s pending arrival in St. Kitts and Nevis, and this gave the former PM ample notice to take the necessary action.
PM 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 – Ed.] to St. Kitts with a layover in Antigua. The flight was due to arrive at 15:30. This information [was relayed – Ed.] to the Denzil Douglas administration for them to take necessary action and to advise Interpol [of said action – Ed.].”
PM 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 US 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 9, 2017, monthly press conference, PM Harris said that records provided by the Canadian Bank Note (CBN) stated that some 15,197 regular passports, 91 diplomatic and 39 official passports had been 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 PM said on March 9.
“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,” PM Harris added.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently commended the Team Unity Government for making “significant efforts to strengthen the CBI programme … as this is essential to reduce integrity and security risks, preserve the programme’s credibility and avoid a race to the bottom.”