By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Rumours of people from Haiti and the Dominican Republic arriving in St. Kitts and Nevis with newly issued passports for the purpose of voting in the upcoming elections have been dismissed by the Ministry of National Security.
Mr. Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security said, “my office has no information whatsoever about undue numbers of people coming into the country with St. Kitts and Nevis passports. Immigration Department has not reported any such thing to me. We have not seen anyone who should not have a passport entering the country, and most non-nationals who have come to St. Kitts and Nevis come with a passport from their country.”
He added: “Is it not unusual for somebody to have a new passport. People get passports, they don’t use them for a year or two…it does not mean they just got their passport. There may be some in the Dominican Republic who is a national/citizen by marriage and who got a passport and is just using it. That doesn’t mean that someone just gave them a passport last week.”
Voicenotes making the rounds on social media suggest that 71 people came into the country with newly issued passports. Mr. Petty, while speaking at the June 29 Cabinet Press Conference, set the record straight on that matter. The senior National Security official explained the steps behind processing a passport.
“On Saturday [June 25], six people came into this country with passports from Haiti and they had Haitian passports and they has visas to come to St. Kitts.
Normally, it takes three people to process a passport. In an emergency situation, then the supervisor and one other can do the passport but the normal process is for three people. The passports, when they come in, and all of our passports are supervised and controlled by the Canadian Bank Note which is based in Canada, are locked away. To get into the passports office to remove a passport, the supervisor and our CBN Entry Technician both simultaneously have to go to the locker and input their password to open it. The numbers of passports taken out are recorded in the passport office and are also recorded down in my office and they are monitored and recorded at CBN in Canada so if for instance ‘x’ amount of passports are taken out then it is going to crash the system because CBN right away will realize something has gone wrong.”