In the statement, the Consul General at the US Embassy in Barbados, Mark Bysfield, said, “We note that the Press Secretary to the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis has clarified that no such request was ever made by the United States.”
Earlier reports in St. Kitts had quoted Press Secretary Erasmus Williams as stating that the decision not to include the place of birth of passport holders was based on a request made by US Authorities. Williams was taken to task for that statement which was eventually found out not to be true and now the US Government itself is confirming that indeed such attribution was unfounded.
While distancing itself from the remarks of the Press Secretary, the US Government Representative seemed to be suggesting that it would have never made such a request because as the Consul General stated, “In fact, the International Civil Aviation Organization specifies place of birth as a key element of biographic data for machine readable and e-passports.”
The US Government said it had also pointed out to the St. Kitts and Nevis Government that passports issued without place of birth were also creating difficulty for those holders seeking to acquire visas to enter the United States.
Bysfield explained, “The U.S. government notified the St. Kitts and Nevis government that versions of the St. Kitts and Nevis passport that lack key elements of biographic data have caused the U.S. government to require additional documentation from applicants for U.S. visas to evaluate their eligibility.”
He added that, “Because of the missing biographic data, holders of St. Kitts and Nevis passports who apply for U.S. visas have experienced delays in processing times.”
Some sources in St. Kitts had accused the government in Basseterre of removing the “Place of Birth” section, to hide the origins of certain economic citizens from countries such as Iran. Both the US and Canada have placed severe restrictions on nationals from that and other countries but there have been those who have tried to gain access to many Western countries through the acqusition of St. Kitts and Nevis passports. The government of Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has however denied that the removal of place of birth was driven by such motives.
The United States said it will continue to comply with the international standards set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization in the visa adjudication process. Some have interpreted that comment to suggest that they are also advising the St. Kitts and Nevis government to do likewise.
Editor’s Note: See full US statement in Commentary section of MiyVue.com