Dwyer Astaphan asks St Kitts & Nevis government for clarification on holders of diplomatic passports
From St Kitts and Nevis (WINN):Former Tourism Minister Dwyer Astaphan (also of Operation Rescue)wants St Kitts & Nevis Team Unitygovernment to clarify the number ofholders of the federation’sdiplomatic passports. Speaking on WINN FM’s Voices programme Wednesday,Astaphan also reiterated calls for proper accounting of the number of passports granted to economic citizens, under the Citizenship by Investment programme.His queries were preceded by the former government minister expressing the view that the management and operation of the programme has become more efficient under Team Unity.
“We don’t know about the people who got diplomatic passports, who still have, who have been issued, who had been issued before and for what reason, and who have been issued since and for what reason. Governments have prerogatives but they also have obligations, and I don’t believe it is strictly within the confines of a government’s prerogative to give out diplomatic passports just like that, at least tell us what the policy is for the giving out of diplomatic passports, because while the former administration was in office, I heard on these microphones, on the public platforms and elsewhere, and writing in my articles, listed a number of people who had been issued diplomatic and other passports and we haven’t been given any report by this government as to whether any of those have been revoked or withdrawn and what is the policy of issuing passports and who gets them now."
"If you hold a diplomatic passport for St Kitts & Nevis, it means you have some official/special function to perform on behalf of the people of St Kitts & Nevis. The country’s population is about 50,000. If you have 10,777 primary passports issued under the economic programme, and say another 25,000 issued to spouses and dependents;you are looking at nearly 40,000 passports issued under the economic citizenship programme. These people are citizens, the structure of the programme did not create a qualified citizenship. They are citizens, they can come and set up shop in Basseterre or in Charlestown or in Roseau or St Georges, Castries or St John’s, because of the OECS Union. They can create serious social, economic & political imbalancesin our country. While I’m not xenophobic by any stretch of the imagination, and while I embrace living in an international community with all of the countries because that is enriching, as a small country, we have to be very careful with the numbers.”Astaphan is urging the administration to make public up to date information on the number of the federation’s economic citizens.
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