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Scaremongering and falsehoods by 'internet crazies', says St Vincent government
Published on June 3, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- In a statement on Monday, Hans King, press secretary to the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, accused the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) of continuing its “nefarious campaign of scaremongering, downright lies and outrageous falsehoods against the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government” and succumbing to the “internet crazies” who have their own personal agendas against the ULP and Gonsalves.

According to King, the NDP’s latest “despicable and unacceptable dishonest utterances”, relate to the Passport Amendment (Bill) 2014 which is currently before the House of Assembly in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

“The NDP’s allegation that the Bill is designed to exonerate or legitimate alleged ‘corruption’ at the consul general’s office in New York is ridiculous and unfounded. It has nothing to do with this office in New York. The NDP’s false allegation is a species of propaganda straight out of the play-book of the Nazi propaganda chief, Goebbels, who took the immoral position that if one repeats a lie persistently the unsuspecting would accept it as the truth. A review of the actual provisions of the Passport (Amendment) Bill, 2014, would reveal a straightforward, sensible piece of legislation in the public interest,” King said.

The Provisions of the Bill

The Passport (Amendment) Bill has six clauses. Its objects and reasons are to amend certain provisions of the existing law to effect a better administration of the issuance of passports and to validate certain passport fees.

Clause 2 of the Bill sets out to amend Section 4 of the existing Passport Act by affirming that three classes of passports may be issued namely: an ordinary passport; an official passport; and a diplomatic passport.

Clause 3 of the Bill sets out to repeal Section 5 of the existing Passport Act by removing the five-year limitation of the life of a passport. The life of the new e-passport is ten years. These new e-passports were issued from March 2014.

Clause 4 of the Bill contains a new provision. It stipulates that “a passport issued under the Act shall at all times remain the property of the Government”.

“This is the case universally and such a declaration of membership (sic) by the government had always been stated in St Vincent and the Grenadines passports. The intention in the Bill is to give that declaration the force of law,” King explained.

Clause 5 of the Bill adds a sub-paragraph to the existing nine sub-paragraphs of offences relating to the issuance, custody and treatment of a passport. This tenth sub-paragraph touches and concerns the matter of the non-reportage by the holder of a passport which has been lost or stolen. The report has to be made to the Chief Immigration Officer or the officer in charge of a police station “as soon as is practicable after the first time the person knows the passport has been either lost or stolen.”

“Clause 6 of the Passport (Amendment) Bill 2014 is that on which the opposition NDP has propagandised falsely and with a scaremonger’s relish. So let us set out this Clause in full with appropriate comments,” he said.

Clause 6 of the Bill

Clause 6 of the Bill has four sub-clauses as follows:

(1) “Every passport issued for a period of more than five years prior to the Commencement of this Act and the regulations made under the principal Act is declared to be valid”.

Comment: This straightforward provision is to validate all the new ten-year e-passports which have been issued since March 2014 under a decision of Cabinet.

(2) “The fees set out in the Schedule to this Act which were levied, charged, and collected by the Passport Officer prior to the commencement of this Act and regulations made under the principal Act are declared to have been validly levied, charged and collected.”

Comment: I have underlined “the Passport Officer” in this sub-clause for emphasis. Who is “the Passport Officer”? The Passport Act, Section 2, (Chapter 115 of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Revised Edition) defines “Passport Officer” as the Chief Immigration Officer. Section 4 of the Passport Act details the appointment of Passport Officer as follows:-

“(1) There shall be a Passport Officer whose function shall be to issue passports and to administer generally the provisions of this Act and the regulations made thereunder.

“(2) The Minister may designate any Consular Office to be an authorised officer for the purpose of issuing passports overseas.”

I note here that under the ULP government since March 29, 2001, no Consular Officer was ever designated to issue passports overseas. Indeed, the ULP government expressly forbad the issuance of any passport overseas by any Consular Officer. A Consular Officer may facilitate a citizen of St Vincent and the Grenadines with the process of obtaining a passport from capital city, Kingstown, but the issuance of passports under the ULP government has been the Passport Officer, that is, the Chief Immigration Officer.

I note further that the validation in Clause 6 (2) of the Bill for the levying, charging and collecting of the passport fees relate to the new passport fees for the new e-passports which are listed in the Schedule to the Bill. Please note that these new fees for the new e-passports sere being charged pursuant to a Cabinet decision of February 26, 2014 prior to the commencement of the issuance of the new ten-year e-passports on March 03, 2014.

Clause 6(3) and 6(4) of the Passport (Amendment) Bill reads:

“(3) All actions by the Passport Officer in relation to the issuing of a Passport and the charging and collecting of fees which are validated by subsections (1) and (2) respectively are validated and declared to have been lawful and the Passport Officer and every person acting on behalf of the Passport Officer are freed, acquitted, discharged and indemnified as well against the Queen’s Most Gracious Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors as against all other persons from all proceeding of any kind in respect of or consequent on any such actions.

“(4) All money received by the Passport Office in proponent of the fees validated under sub-section (2) is declared to have been lawfully paid to and received by the Passport Officer and the Passport Officer and every person acting on behalf of the Passport Officer are freed, acquitted, discharged and indemnified as well against the Queen’s Most Gracious Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors as against all other persons from all proceedings of any kind in respect of or consequent on the receipt of such money.”

Comment: Clause 6(3) and 6(4) of the Bill are necessarily consequential upon the validation of the issuance of the passports and the fees in Clauses 6(1) and 6(2). They protect the actions of the Passport Officer and any other person acting on his behalf pursuant to the validation in Clauses 6(1) and 6(2) regarding issuance of the passports and the collection of the fees. It is important to note that the validation of the fees relates to the fees in the Schedule which are the fees for the new 10-year e-passports. So, for example, in the case of the new fee for issuance of a St. Vincent and the Grenadines passport in Kingstown is EC$150.00 and in USA, US$150.00, if the Passport Officer or anyone acting on his behalf collects EC$200.00 or US$200.00 respectively, the validation and the indemnity will not, and cannot, be applicable for the excess collection over EC$150.00 or US$150.00 respectively. Any excess collected would subject the collector to civil or criminal sanction.

In the Schedule there are fees charged for the issuance of St Vincent and the Grenadines passports, their replacement and for express service in respect of a new or replacement passport in St Vincent and the Grenadines, USA, Canada, and UK.

Importantly, I should add that the bundle of “indemnities” in Clauses 6(3) or 6(4) of the Passport (Amendment) Bill are neither novel nor unusual in the validation of the collection of levies, charges or taxes by a government in St Vincent and the Grenadines, including the former NDP administration, or elsewhere. This is normal in any validation of tax administration. Indeed in some validating statutes there are identical provisions as in the Passport (Amendment) Act. On several occasions the NDP either proposed or supported many Acts of Validation. So, their scaremongering and falsehoods on the Passport (Amendment) Bill is dishonest politics as the 2015 general elections draw nearer and as the NDP leadership succumbs to the “internet crazies” who have their own personal agendas against the ULP and Ralph.

Final Comment

“I should point out, parenthetically, that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Director of Audit and effectively rebutted the relevant Report of the Director of Audit in which it was alleged that the Consulate had collected passport fees in excess of its authority. The Permanent Secretary wrote that the correct passport fees were collected and transmitted on behalf of passport applicants to the Chief Immigration Officer in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The additional charges collected related to payments for transmitting a person’s application by FedEx or DHL,” King concluded.
 
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Comments:

Peter Binose:

Well seeing who wrote this letter to CNN, I will try and tread carefully, because this is the man that threatened to hit Brian Alexander with a 2x4 and also told him on a radio program if he found him he would shoot him, and the PM backed him up and said Alexander shouldn't of upset him. Remember, it was all over the internet and news media, even my favourite Vincentian writer Mr Patrick Ferrari has mentioned the episode on several occasions in his column. Apparently Alexander said something on FaceBook which sent King into a rage which lasted several days. So Hans I will be careful what I say.

Some of the headlines at the time
“Is Hans King a Batty Man?”
"PM will not discipline spokesman for murder thoughts"
"PM's press secretary considered killing on the weekend"

So I will not say that what you write is BS as usual, because I do not want to bring on your wrath. I know that basically you are a nice boy, not quite as nice as Glen Jackson he was considered a very nice boy, but if you're good enough for Ralph, you're good enough for us. So lets get down to your letter.

I am surprised there is no reference to any of the other matters raised in the article. Burnt passports, the Canadian visa situation, cocaine, green card fraud, using private receipt books, or anything else.

I think this submission only confirms something is wrong. Why protect anyone from the wrongs of overcharging, if they have overcharged they should be prosecuted if it was a purposeful and fraudulent act. That is why there are laws.

In Saint Vincent, all matters for prosecution are submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP]. He can refuse to allow the prosecution of any case without the right of anyone to ask why. He can take over a case private or criminal and order it discontinued at any time before or during a trial, without giving reasons other than it was his opinion that it was in the public interest to do so.

This is what he did when the Prime Minister was charged with rape by his policewoman body guard, and also the Canadian Human Rights Lawyer who charged him with sexual assault. There were apparently six women in total who alleged sexual crimes against them. The DPP refused to allow any of those cases to be heard.

It would be more respected if this rebuttal and explanation came from the official department, the Audit Department, that said there many were serious problems at the NY mission.

Why write such clauses into a bill if it is only to cover the prior charging of DHL, FEDEX, or postage. Why, when the charging for those items cannot possibly be illegal. Why when any legal charges and allegations regarding such, would never get past the DPP. No one would be able to prosecute a case that he didn’t approve, and he is appointed for life, or at least until he is 65, and no one can remove him except the Governor General, and only then for such extreme circumstances it would be next to impossible.

Vinci Vin:

To this date, I have not seen a plausable explanation of what actually happened in the "Passport and Green Card Allegations (Scams?)" at the SVG New York Consulate in NYC. Furthermore, it appears that Mr. Edson Augustus is in hiding while Mr. Selmon Walters is lying low with regards to this scandal.

Yet there are causes for deep concerns:

1. Are the victims being made whole by anyone? I mean - has anyone moved to return the thousand of dollars that were alleged taken from these poor Vincentians under false pretense - theft by deception?

2. If Mr. Augustus was guilty of wrongdoings at the consulate, what are the unedited details of those wrongs?

3. Have any measures been implemented to ensure that Vincentians in the diaspora would have confidence in the representatives of their government abroad?

4. Does the ULP government believe that by simply labeling its critics as "Internet Crazies" it will muzzle the inquiring minds of Vincentians on this issue?

Where is all of this leading us as a nation?

Vinci Vin

Blane:

Watch a time when we can't even read and interpret things for ourselves. Just imagine a government so helpful that they would write a bill, and then even want to interpret the bill for us. We already read the bill Mr. King, and we do not need the help of a propagandist to understand it.

Peter Binose:

Vinci-Vin

The wording of the Bill [which is now due to be read June 10] is all embracing and designed to exonerate much more than someone charging postage. Its worded such because someone in SVG, the US, Canada, UK or some where else or everywhere, has done something that this government wants to protect them from prosecution.

So they put wording in the Bill which is far reaching and covers every posibility.

Its a cheats charter, it allows ULP villains to get away scot free.

Peter Binose:

HANS KING, just what did it take on your part to get Glen Jackson's job, when did you decide you wanted it. By whom and when were you invited to take Glen's job.

I have seen what I describe as your nasty behaviour, your nasty side, and as far as I am concerned in my mind it has discredited you and I would not employ you in any position after you publicly made threats regarding using your gun and committing murder on Brian Alexander.

I have to ask you this question, "did you play any part in the demise of Glen Jackson"?

I personally believe you are cold hearted and have little regard for the sanctity of human life. I remember well and duly recorded when you made this statement when police shot and killed a 26 year old man wanted by the police for alleged murder. "it may be seen as justice in its own way," "He is no more" "This young man already chalked up quite a criminal record" "He is no more, basically" All of this you once again said on a radio program and it was repeated in the news media headed

'Hans King say's escaped prisoners death may be justice in its own way'

Last year your brother was shot down in a hail of bullets from a car, a gangster style killing. So I believe your family is well aware of law by the gun.

Hans I am not accusing you expressed or implied, of taking part in the taking of Glen Jacksons life, but I have to make the above observations and ask the questions, because I believe someone else should have.

Lenford O'Garro:

People laugh like you all live out! A government paid mouthpiece wants to read and spell for the world! In an age of what the term “Education Revolution”. Do they believe people were eating their school fee during Language Arts/English (Reading Comprehension)? Them think we foolish and them smart!

Sorry to burst their bubbles! We were in class for reading comprehension and we do understand what’s in the bill! No need for your long talk “ganda”!

Marlon Mills:

As Hitler's main propagandist, Goebbels used a series of tactics to aid Hitler's ambitions to control every facet of German life and made complete use of all technical means of dominating Germany under Hitler’s rule - just as Gonsalves is attempting to do in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Like Goebbels, Gonsalves has been and continues his attempts at controlling the media to present a unified view of the Unity Labour Party administration. Therefore, no opposition voice is to be tolerated and critics must be silenced at all costs. If he doesn't like a particular article, the editor or whoever is in authority will receive a call. If compliance with the Prime Minister’s wishes is not achieved, threats are likely to follow and ultimately the justice system is used to mute the voice of the media, as is seen in the case of Nice Radio. Goebbels actually outlawed the use of radio at one point during Nazi control over Germany.

Since the Internet is proving to be challenging for Gonsalves to control the voices of his critics, he has resorted to another of Goebbels tactics to deal with that situation by promoting stereotypes, hence the reference to people who discuss politics on the internet as ‘internet crazies’. This tactic has long been used by Gonsalves to discredit critics. As an example, when he was challenged by the Friends of the Tobago Cays, we were labelled as ‘malignant’, ‘liars’ and ‘dishonest’. Media professionals were referred to as ‘chattering nabobs’ and other critics referred to as ‘unschooled’ and ‘untutored’, ‘lazy’, and all sorts of other unsavory titles too numerous and some too distastful to mention here.

Goebbels once stated that “it is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead success”. That is, control over the German people. He also acknowledged openly that he was exploiting the lowest instincts of the German people – racism, xenophobia, class, envy and insecurity. Sounds familiar?

Peter Binose:

In fact he was better as a political activist in the 1970's than he is as a real politician, and he wasn't much good as an activist, no one turned up at his meetings or rallies except a handful of like minded Marxist idiots. He was a failure as an activist and he is a far bigger failure as a politician.

His problem is, he can only think as a lawyer and as a Marxist.

His unrealised dream is to be marching beside Fidel Castro.

Peter Binose:

Quite amusing really, Hans King get the flack, whilst it turns out that he didn't write this document, Ralph Gonsalves did.

We must ask why the deceit, why the deception, and why the need to play dirty politics by introducing Goebbels into the matter.

The word scum springs to mind, but I will keep that to myself.

I have asked this before, is this man fit to be an officer of the court? is he fit to head any ministry? is he fit to be prime minister? is he even fit to be a member of our parliament?


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