- Posted November 28, 2013 by
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St.Kitts-Nevis Opposition demands Resignation of Government Officials in Iranian Passport Scandal
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Opposition is demanding answers about an Iranian who was made a special envoy for St. Kitts and Nevis to Turkey and Azerbaijan.
“I…demand of our Prime Minister and Minister Nisbett, a fulsome and truthful statement addressing frontally the serious international. I demand in particular to know whether in fact, US one million dollars was paid for this diplomatic passport and to whom such corrupt payments were made. I further demand that the diplomatic status accorded to this Iranian National by Cabinet be immediately revoked.”
In a National address on Wednesday night, Federal Opposition Leader Mark Brantley called for a full investigation into the matter.
“We must embark on an immediate and wide ranging investigation as to how this Iranian National procured a diplomatic passport of this country, and parties implicit in this nefarious scheme must be asked to resign their positions within this government with immediate effect. I further demand that all non-nationals who have been according diplomatic status by St. Kitts and Nevis be disclosed together with the basis for the grant of such status.”
In the Parliament on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Patrice Nisbett revealed that the government in January had approved the appointment of Iranian Alizeera Moghadam as a special envoy, after he had acquired citizenship under the Federation’s Citizenship Investment programme; an explanation that does not sit well with the Opposition, and which Brantley said Wednesday raised even more questions.
“Minister Nisbett failed and/or refused to speak to the issue of the alleged U.S. one million dollars paid for the diplomatic passport. I can confirm that under the applicable laws of St. Kitts and Nevis and under international norms diplomatic passports are not for sale. The question then of who received this alleged U.S. one million in exchange for bestowing diplomatic status upon this Iranian National is a matter of heated speculation which demands a sensible response,” Mr. Brantley said.
The Opposition Leader questioned the government’s decision to appoint an Iranian a special envoy to countries whose relationships with Iran is not without tensions.
“Minister Nisbett failed and/or refused to advise the citizenry of this country why this Iranian national who Minister Nisbett states was an envoy to Azerbaijan or Turkey could enter Canada and indicate to Canadian authorities that he had meetings with the Canadian Prime Minister for and on behalf of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. What business did this Iranian national have in Canada and on whose behalf? Canada as we know is thousands of miles away from Turkey and Azerbaijan. Minister Nisbett failed and/or refused to as to the reason why an Iranian national would be selected by the Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis to act as a special envoy to Turkey and Azerbaijan.”
The government has insisted that the Moghadan issue has not threatened St. Kitts and Nevis' visa-free status with Canada, but Brantley says he has seen evidence to suggest otherwise.
“I have seen documents dated 11th July 2013, which satisfy me that Minister Nisbett and Prime Minister Douglas and the entire Cabinet well knew of the serious breach of international law and comity. .I am equally satisfied that they sought to mislead the Kittitian and Nevisian public by their assertion that the decision to prevent Iranians and Afghans from applying for St. Kitts Nevis citizenship through investment was a routine reorganization of the citizenship by investment programme. I believe based on what I have seen that our visa free travel to Canada enjoyed by our citizens has been seriously jeopardized by this international scandal. Indeed Minister Nisbett in his own words in documents seen by me urged his Cabinet colleagues to act citing “the sensitivity of this matter and particularly the possible implications for the continuation of the visa free status which the Federation enjoys with Canada.”
He questioned the announcement by the Foreign Affairs Minister on Tuesday that the government would return to the former practice of including the place of birth on St. Kitts and Nevis passports.
“Our public would have been well aware that this Douglas-led Administration elected to remove the place of origin or place of birth from the St. Kitts Nevis passport. Now Minister Nisbett has belatedly advised that we will now in St. Kitts Nevis revert to the internationally accepted position of noting a passport holder's place of birth or place of origin on our passports. Again, I am satisfied that this was one of the serious concerns raised by the Canadian authorities with the government of St. Kitts and Nevis and it is only as a result of such concerns that our government has been forced to do what is right.”
Prime Minister Douglas has suggested that the matter has been blown out of proportion by the Opposition, to attack the country's Citizenship by Investment programme. In the National Assembly on Wednesday, he labelled them “economic terrorists.”
WINN FM's written requests for a response to the various allegations were unacknowledged by the government Thursday afternoon.
- See more at: http://www.winnfm.com/news/local/6422-opposition-demands-answers-in-iranian-passport-controversy#sthash.zLUmzhXU.dpuf