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Passport Office: Confiscated Passport Stories ‘False and Malicious’

The Passport Office in the Ministry of National Security responded to reports alleging authorities in St. Maarten confiscated over 105 new St. Kitts and Nevis passports carried by citizens of the Dominican Republic as “false, unfounded and malicious,” and not in the best interests of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Ministry of National Security said, to date, authorities in St. Maarten have not advised the Government of any incident surrounding passengers holding St. Kitts and Nevis passports or passports found, and authorities in St. Maarten have not sent any confiscated passports to the authorities in St. Kitts and Nevis.

The response also said, when contacted after the allegations surfaced, counterparts in St. Maarten denied any knowledge of such happenings or any untoward development relating to the passports.

The Passport Office said the issuance of passports in St. Kitts and Nevis is a controlled process with a number ofindependent stages, each requiring its own independent verification and certification process and compliant with international standards to ensure integrity, and The Ministry of National Security remains undeterred in its efforts to ensure that passport processing procedures are highly reliable and in accordance with international best practices.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: A report Tuesday night that over 100 new St Kitts and Nevis passports were seized by the immigration authorities in Dutch St Maarten and returned to Basseterre.

Operation Rescue Dwyer Astaphan made the disclosure on Tuesday night during his weekly radio programme “The Operating Room” on WINNF FM.

He said 105 passports were sent to the Dominican Republic to persons who had never came to St Kitts and Nevis before.

“We are told that the flight or flights that these people were on passed through St Maarten where the passengers disembarked. The St Maarten officials we are told, found these people with the 105 brand new St Kitts and Nevis passports. Most or all of the passengers were unable to speak a word of English and we were told that the St Maarten authorities took possession of the passports and returned them to the Government in St Kitts,” said Astaphan, a former minister of national security.

“If this story is true. I have some questions. Who would have prepared these 105 passports? Where did they get the passports from? Who would have authorized, sent them to the Dominican Republic and to whom? Who would be the contacts in St Kitts and the Dominican Republic? How much money had to be paid for these passports transactions and paid to whom? What can the Immigration Department, the Ministry of National Security and the Prime Minister tell us to comfort us in the knowledge and confidence that this is not true or if it is true that remedial and investigative steps will be undertaken without delay,” said Astaphan.

There is concern that the unpopular and scandal-plagued government will try every trick in the book to steal the upcoming elections.


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