(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- While the court of law has ruled that Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Denzil Douglas, is not under allegiance to a foreign power by his use of a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the court of public opinion — the ordinary citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis –- must still seriously consider the significance of this matter, according to Premier of Nevis and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Federal Government, the Honourable Mark Brantley.
“I’m asking the people of this country, what does it say to you and how do you feel that someone who says they wish to lead you travels the world using the passport of another country?” asked the Premier as he weighed in on the court’s decision.
Premier Brantley said that in his opinion, Dr. Douglas presents himself as a representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica every time he traveled using his diplomatic passport.
“I remind you that when you present your passport to immigration in any country, the fact of presentation of that passport says to that immigration officer ‘this is who I am. I am Dr. Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, a diplomat of the Commonwealth of Dominica’,” Minister Brantley added.
The Attorney General reported that Dr. Douglas travelled seven different times to 10 countries using his Dominican diplomatic passport.
In going further, Premier Brantley indicated that the country which issued Dr. Douglas the diplomatic passport is in direct competition with St. Kitts and Nevis in terms of Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes.
“St. Kitts and Nevis has the original Citizenship by Investment Programme dating back to 1984. We gave the world the idea of economic citizenship – little St. Kitts and Nevis…and here you have a man in Dr. Douglas who says to you that he wishes to lead you and therefore you are entitled to expect from him and of him that he has allegiance to no one else; you are entitled to expect that he will promote no one else but you [the people of St. Kitts and Nevis]. You should have no doubt in your mind about any of the Parliamentarians…who they will promote when they go out in the outer world,” the minister said.
Furthermore, Premier Brantley reminded listeners to the “On the Mark” programme on VON Radio radio, that he, while serving as Leader of the Opposition from 2007 to 2015, was denied a diplomatic passport by the Denzil Douglas administration. Irrespective, Minister Brantley said he chose to travel, whether personal or in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition, using his regular St. Kitts-Nevis passport, rather than seeking one from another territory.
“Dr. Douglas, in a similar position, Leader of the Opposition, sitting where I used to sit in the Parliament, now says that he must have a diplomatic passport and if he cannot get one from St. Kitts-Nevis he will get one from elsewhere. I’m saying to you that you must, in the court of public opinion, determine whether or not you are satisfied that a person who does that is really committed to St. Kitts and Nevis or rather a person in that position has mixed loyalties if committed to the country that accorded him this high status of a diplomat.”
While the Government’s legal team respects the ruling of the court, it has stated that it intends to appeal the High Court’s Feb. 20 judgement in the parliamentary disqualification case brought by the Attorney General of St. Kitts and Nevis against Leader of Opposition, Dr. Denzil Douglas.