BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – PRIME MINISTER Dr. the Hon. Timothy today (Oct. 3) stated that the Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, has dual citizenship and in undermining the Federation’s Citizenship By Investment Programme by promoting that of another country.
Dr. Harris was at the time addressing local media representatives at his monthly press conference held in the Parliamentary Lounge at Government Headquarters, but he did not reveal the country to which Dr. Douglas is a citizen.
He said certain information was recently drawn to his attention which he felt obliged, in the public’s interest, to make known to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“I made these comments with respect to the information. One, Dr. Denzil Douglas is a citizen of another country other than St. Kitts and Nevis. Dr. Denzil Douglas promotes the CIP of another country and undermines that of St. Kitts and Nevis. Thirdly, Dr. Denzil Douglas strangely holds a diplomatic passport of another country.”
He also challenge Dr. Douglas “to confirm the truth or otherwise of the foregoing information to which I have been made privy to and I have fared in the public interest”.
Dr. Harris asserted that Dr. Douglas had treated with contempt those politicians who held dual citizenship, adding that the former Prime Minister had contentions with three members of the People’s Action Movement who are now Government Ministers.
“It is important to note that with respect to this matter of citizenship that the same Dr. Denzil Douglas has in the past showed disdain of holders of dual citizenship. His vendetta against Lindsay Grant, against Shawn Richards and Eugene Hamilton are all well known. So serious was this matter of dual citizenship for persons participating in the parliamentary life of the country that Dr. Denzil Douglas passed the National Assembly’s Election Amendment Act Number 16 of 2009.”
He claimed that it was not just simply a matter of policy, but something Dr. Douglas felt so deeply moved about that he brought a piece of legislation.
“And I supported the legislation for what it was worth - as a matter of principle that those who are coming before the people of the country for service must come unencumbered to the extent that that principle was eliminated in the Parliament – think it had national support. So the man felt very strongly about it.
“So, he passed this Act and the Act was intended specifically to prevent persons of dual citizenship from offering themselves to the electorate. For him, eight years later, to become entitled with dual citizenship bates the question: ‘Is there no moral minimum for him?’”
He continued: “The possession of a passport by the Leader of the Opposition, other than a St. Kitts and Nevis passport, in my view, raises significant questions of a civic, political and constitutional nature. And I posit the following for consideration.
“In my humble view, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis have a constitutional right to be represented only by people who owe and who appear to owe their undivided loyalty and allegiance to the Federation.”
Dr. Harris stated that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis are entitled to a robust Parliament with all members free to represent their constituencies in the best interest of the Federation and also free from external constraints and allegiances.
“The Government,” he declared, “has a responsibility to investigate all circumstances surrounding the issuance of a foreign diplomatic passport to a member of the National Assembly. You must do that in the context of this you know. This was a special Act moved to protect pn the face of it the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis from a man or woman who may be playing two tunes.”
He reiterated that the matter bears an investigation, which should consider whether holding the diplomatic passport undermines the Federal interest of St. Kitts and Nevis.
‘This is a man holding himself out as the alternative leader of the country. This is not Tom Joe out in the street in the alleyways. We have no contention with the Toms and the Janes holding their view on citizenship. But when we are elected to the legislature, consistent with our Constitution, you must expect a better standard of behaviour.”
He also reiterated that the Act was created to deal with certain people and “it comes now full circle”.
“The very man who created it, who inspired the nation to this calling, this very man now has a case to answer in relation to it He says a candidate for nomination for election, before being nominated must take an oath to the effect that he or she does not hold a dual citizenship. That is to say that he or she is not by virtue of his or her own act under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state. And if he or she held dual citizenship, produce proof that he or she renounce the other citizenship.”
Dr. Harris noted that some people said that was what led to the hasty departure of Lindsay Grant and Shawn Richards to Barbados before the 2010 Election.