Basseterre, St. Kitts-Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. The Hon. Timothy Harris has revealed that passports released by the former government that did not include country of birth have been deactivated by his administration.
Dr. Harris speaking at a Prime Ministers press conference on Thursday and indicated that some 15,197 regular passports, 91 diplomatic and 39 official passports that were released without the place of birth field and indicated that those passports have been scrapped.
“My government has taken the decision to deactivate all passports issued by the former government without the country of birth field. All such holders will have to reapply for a new passport with the relevant country of birth field and they will pay the cost of the new passport,”
He added that the move was to ensure that the Federation was a responsible member of the global community
“This is an imperative to safeguard the integrity of our passport, to comply with international best practices, and to satisfy our commitment to being a responsible member of the international community.”
He however indicated that those passports without the country of birth to ensure that their passports have at least six months validity before making travel arrangements.
Prime Minister Harris also stated that the Federations Passport had been rankednow ranked number one in the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and number two in CARICOM
He also revealed that from a field of 199 countries the federation ‘s passport now ranks 50 globally and noted that it was amazing that in two years international confidence in our passports is now at an all-time high.”
Dr. Harris also gave some insight in to the ranking system.
“The methodology used in this most recent passport ranking considered among other factors visa-free travel, which they accorded a high score of 50 percent, taxation policy, issues to do with freedom, and the facility with which persons can have more than one citizenship among others,”
He also noted that initiatives by the government such as increasing the federation’s diplomatic footprint and the number of countries with which now have visa-free entry have helped in the improved ranking.
“So too have our competitive tax policy, the high level of democratic freedoms including press freedoms enjoyed here and the enhanced reputation of our country attributed inter-alia to the platinum status of our recognized Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme resulting in our prestigious standing,”
Dr. Harris added that the increase in the tourism profile of the federation and the exceptionally high ranking among the most dynamic countries investing in ICT’s have also played a role.
“Our fiscal surpluses and tax free budgets have no doubt also impacted positively on the perception of our beloved country.”