By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The government of St Kitts and Nevis has responded to Team Unity opposition coalition leader and former government minister Dr Timothy Harris’s recent claims that his diplomatic passport was withdrawn without him being properly notified.
Dr Timothy Harris
Harris, who was fired by the prime minister earlier this year, said that he only found out his diplomatic status had been cancelled when he was leaving the country on Monday.
Harris told Winn FM that this was done without him being officially notified.
He also indicated that he had not been asked to return the document.
According to the government statement responding to those claims, a diplomatic passport issued on May 8, 2012 to Harris during the period when he served as a minister in the Federal Cabinet was “rescinded following its non-return to the Ministry as is the standard practice”.
The ministry of foreign affairs and homeland security is quoted as saying that it has been aware that Harris has on numerous occasions, following termination of his services, used the document bearing his former designation of minister to travel to a number of countries including Canada.
According to the ministry, the Team Unity Leader did so while being aware that his actions were contrary and inconsistent with the intent of the relevant legislation and goes against accepted standards in diplomatic relations.
The statement charges Harris with having purported to possess a status that he no longer enjoys, through his continued use of the diplomatic passport, following the termination of his services as a minister of government.
Harris has, over the past several days, been very vocal about an alleged passport scandal in which Iranian Alizeera Moghadam is reported to have told Canadian authorities that he paid US$1million for a St Kitts and Nevis diplomatic passport.
Both Harris and parliamentary opposition leader Mark Brantley have called on the Douglas administration to clear the air on that matter.
Critics of the government interpret the revoking of the Harris diplomatic passport as retaliation for Harris’s harsh criticism of the government’s handling of the Moghadam issue.
Harris and Brantley contend that the prime minister announced in July that Iranians and Afghans would be excluded from Basseterre’s citizenship by investment programme without informing the nation that the move had been prompted by security concerns expressed by Canada over the Moghadam passport matter.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network