Dr Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis. (FILE)
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BASSETERRE –The Government has deactivated the passports belonging to the two economic citizens alleged to have defrauded state institutions in the People’s Republic of China out of US$100 million.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister Timothy Harris during a press conference earlier this week in which he addressed the controversy surrounding the economic citizens
“They don’t have a St Kitts and Nevis passport on which they could travel,” Harris said. “So they have no legitimate passport for St Kitts and Nevis,” he added.
During an address to the nation, the Prime Minister said his administration was actively investigating the matter surrounding the economic citizens of Chinese descent, who applied for and obtained St Kitts and Nevis citizenship in 2013 and have been living in the country since 2014.
According to the Prime Minister, the previous government, led by Dr Denzil Douglas had granted them St Kitts and Nevis passports with their country of origin concealed.
“This dubious practice by the former regime of issuing passports without the country of birth field may very well have factored into the Canadian government’s decision to revoke the visa-free status of citizens of St Kitts and Nevis, effective November 22nd, 2014. After all, the announcement by Canada cited “concerns about the issuance of passports and identity management practices within its [St Kitts and Nevis’] Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme,” the Prime Minister said.
“My Government has taken the decision to deactivate all passports issued by the former government without the country of birth field,” said Harris during one of his monthly press conferences earlier this year.
“All such holders will have to reapply for a new passport, which will contain the relevant country of birth field and they will pay the cost of the new passport. This, of course, 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,” he said. (CMC)