By LR Liburd
The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer
Opposition Leader the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas is no longer the holder of a diplomatic passport and this was confirmed when he made a personal statement during Wednesday’s (Apr. 27) sitting of the National House of Assembly.
Dr. Douglas indicated to Members of the House that he intended to clear the air on a statement that was made on air by Foreign Affairs Minister the Hon. Mark Brantley.
“As I have said privately and publicly that there was no truth to that particular matter and so I want to give an explanation. Because in April of last year I submitted my previous diplomatic passport which I held and asked for a new diplomatic passport according to the policy which was being pursued by my government in the sense that former Heads of State and Heads of Government have always had diplomatic passports.
“I am told, Mr. Speaker, that the application was received by the Office of the Prime Minister, that the Prime Minister requested to have and sent to him from Foreign Affairs the diplomatic passport which was not expired but which, of course, indicated that I was Prime Minister and naturally had to be submitted for a new one to be reissued.”
His explanation did not sit well with Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, who immediately objected to the accusation, and that had led to a heated exchange of words on the issue.
“Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, in fairness let me as he has done make it clear that I requested no such passport and no such passport is documented as he to me,” adding that “we cannot take heresay in the Parliament”.
Dr. Douglas responded and the exchange continued which prompted the Speaker of the House to intervene.
Following his intervention and based on the Prime Minister’s denial of having sent for the application for reissuance of the diplomatic passport, Dr. Douglas said, “Mr. Speaker, again as I said, I was told that by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who received from me that diplomatic passport. In furtherance, he said to me…” But this statement was left hanging as the cross talk continued.
And in response to Dr. Harris’ comment, Dr. Douglas said, “…Now if the Prime Minister is saying that the Permanent Secretary is lying, then I’ll understand that. He is saying that the Permanent Secretary was lying to me, Mr. Elvis Newton who has deceased us.”
The Opposition Leader reiterated that he no longer holds a diplomatic passport and laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of Prime Minister Harris.
“I am stating categorically that I do not have a diplomatic passport issued by this government since I applied for one in April of 2015. I have not received any and so I would wish to state categorically for the benefit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is not here, because maybe he really does not know. Maybe he really thinks I have been granted one, but I was not granted one. And so I want to make it clear to him and also to those who listening and heard him and those who questioned me about it, I want to say categorically that I have not been granted a diplomatic passport because the Prime Minister did not grant it.”
Having the last say on the matter, Prime Minister Harris again objected to Dr. Douglas’ statement, insinuating that he is a liar and that his claim was “unsubstantiated as it is and relying on the hearsay, and the person on whom he is lying is not even alive”.