The demagogic, adhominem abuse by Dr. Douglas, who continues to operate without constitutional basis, is no surprise to the vast majority of Kittitians and Nevisians who have long lost respect for him, his ability to speak truthfully and who think “it is time for him to step aside and allow someone else to run the country”.
Dr. Douglas must know that he was the head of government at all times and he cannot conveniently come to the public now, after eighteen years, to accuse former ministers of wrong doings. Such accusation of wrongdoing, if true, would have occurred under his watch and he would have irresponsibly condoned and/or covered up impropriety. Such behavior would be unacceptable for a national leader. But Douglas has long bid goodbye to truth. Hence, a Judge of the High Court described him as a stranger to the truth. Another learned Judge told us that when faced with three (3) constitutionally legitimate ways of making an appointment, our illegitimate Prime Minister chose the wrong way. We cannot rely on our illegitimate Prime Minister anymore to tell the truth nor to do the right thing.
The truth is Douglas’ attacks in Parliament, full of lies and mischief, must be seen as the actions of a desperate, dictatorial leader who has come to the end of his rope. He has destroyed his own credibility on the issues and is now vigorously and indiscriminately attempting to destroy others. However, the people of this country will not be fooled by Douglas’ persistent efforts to sidetrack them and change the subject from the many important issues affecting their well-being, including the unconventional and illegal sale of our diplomatic passports.
Patrice Nisbett advised the Douglas Cabinet that Canada threatened to review our visa free status to Canada unless Iranians and Afghans were suspended from participation in our Citizenship Investment Programme. Canada further queried why the holder’s place of birth is not recorded in the new St. Kitts and Nevis electronic passport. We are now told that a decision has been made to revert to the previous style passport which visibly records the holder’s country of birth. We welcome this. Canada’s list of concerns are many.
(i) The continued participation of Iranian Nationals in the Programme, regardless of their place of residence;
(ii) The perceived inadequacy of the due diligence resulting in some persons becoming/acquiring citizenship even after they would have been denied visas to enter Canada and the tendency for them to use the St. Kitts and Nevis passport to gain access to, thereby circumventing the relevant laws of that country;
(iii) The apparent attempt by some holders (primarily those who would have acquired citizenship through the Investment Programme) of St. Kitts and Nevis passports to enter Canada using the document issued by the Federation and then applying for refugee status;
(iv) Difficulties being experienced by Canadian immigration and border security personnel on policing individuals entering Canada;
(v) The fact that in at least one instance an individual who by virtue of his/her involvement in alleged fraudulent activities was granted citizenship under the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship Investment Programme in contravention of our own Regulations.
These are the hard facts known to Douglas and submitted to the other members of the illegitimate regime by Patrice Nisbett, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a Cabinet document dated July 11, 2013 and captioned “Concerns/Queries Raised by Representative of the Government of Canada”.
It is to the aforementioned worrying matters, which naturally affect the livelihood of the people of our country, that a credible national leader would have addressed rather than seek to discredit and indeed destroy the good name, character and integrity of true patriots who are fighting against injustice and inequality under a “constitutionally illegitimate” government.
Cornered over the US$1million diplomatic passport scandal, the out of ideas, outgoing Douglas regime seeks now to resurrect Curshen, a former Hon Consul appointed by the Douglas government. Mr. Curshen whilst he was a functionary of Douglas administration worked assiduously at the highest level with officials in the Ministry of Finance headed by Douglas, in promoting the offshore sector and in drafting legislation on the international services sector. He never implicated any official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, neither was anyone investigated nor charged with any of the wrong doings for which Curshen was charged and subsequently imprisoned. Curshen’s imprisonment had nothing to do with diplomatic passport or sale of passport. The insertion of Curshen in the midst of the debate was a lame effort at red herring and distraction from the serious governance problems our country now faces under Douglas. The Speaker erred badly in allowing Douglas to raise this irrelevant issue and to scandalize people’s name under the cloak of Parliamentary privilege.
The truth is, Dr. Douglas is the only person who can cause the issuance of a St. Kitts and Nevis diplomatic passport. And whilst he is at it, Dr. Douglas needs to tell our people whether Mr. Moghadam’s diplomatic passport has been revoked; whether it is government’s policy to sell diplomatic passports, in violation of international diplomatic norms and traditions; how many other persons have paid for diplomatic passports, who they paid, how much they paid and where the money is; and whether or not a diplomatic passport can be revoked after it has been paid for!
In the national interest, Dr. Douglas also needs to:
1. Tell the people of this country when the concerns identified by the government of Canada will be satisfactorily dealt with, so that the threat to our visa-free status can be removed;
2. Speak the truth, as inconvenient as it may be, and advise us if any Iranians and/or Afghans have been given passports, diplomatic or ordinary, since Monday, 29th July 2013, the day we learnt of the decision to “suspend with immediate effect” Iranians and Afghans from the Federation’s Citizenship by Investment Programme;
3. Report to the nation about the number of passports that have been sold and are to be sold to finance the “tourism projects” to be owned by foreign interests;
4. Explain why “foreign investors” are not bringing foreign capital into St. Kitts and Nevis the traditional way but are relying on our (local) moneys for every project;
5. Address the reputational risk associated with the sale of passport under the current system.
Patrice Nisbett must have had serious concerns about the Moghadam diplomatic passport issue when he told his Cabinet colleagues, “I offer that it is opportune for the Government to consider conducting an independent assessment of the Citizenship by Investment Programme focusing on certain processes, including the conduct of the due diligence, issuance of passports. This will ensure that the integrity of the programme is maintained.”
Those are some of the serious matters of political, social and economic importance that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis are concerned about and which no level of crass, unparliamentary behavior can ever address.
Our people have moved beyond Dr. Douglas’ rants and profane performances. A substantial majority wait anxiously for an opportunity to elect a new Unity government that shares their values and delights in championing their cause. A Unity government that will put the people’s quality of life foremost on a prosperity agenda. A Unity government that understands history and will ensure that we never again travel along the path of ignominy and shame which led to the enslavement, the denial of the person and the exclusion of our people from participation in socio-economic life.
In modern times good governance is critical to socio-economic progress. State Secrecy in dealing with matters of public interest such as our lands, our passports, and our relations with friendly countries, is unacceptable and must be rejected.
Our people recognize that St. Kitts and Nevis’ reputation is being damaged under the illegitimate Douglas regime and they know that it is time to redeem our country’s good name, restore our land and promote shared prosperity.
It is time to set our country to work and only the Unity Government can deliver on the people’s promise.
May God bless our beloved country and our people as we unite in peace and purpose in the fight against inequality, injustice, illegitimacy and the threat to our democracy?