|Toronto Star Special: In St. Kitts, Passport 'Sales' Lead To Escalating Political Drama
||1/16/14 9:49 AM
In St. Kitts, passport 'sales' lead to escalating political
As Iranian claims to have bought passport for $1 million, critics say controversy provides another reason why PM Denzil Douglas should be voted out.
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Denzil Douglas, the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, is expected to call general elections early this year.
By: Special to the Star, Published on Thu Jan 09 2014
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS—Canadian immigration officials were perplexed — to say the least — when an Iranian businessman arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport brandishing a diplomatic passport from the tiny Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
They quickly started asking questions about how he had obtained the passport and the purpose of his trip to Canada. And they couldn’t have been more surprised by his response.
The Iranian, Alizera Moghadam, told them he had bought the passport from the St. Kitts and Nevis government for $1 million (U.S.), that he was on official diplomatic business and that he was to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. According to a subsequent St. Kitts and Nevis cabinet submission from the country’s minister of foreign affairs, Moghadam was then “asked
to provide additional details or supporting documentation” and was “either unable or unwilling to do so.”
Moghadam was allowed into Canada. But the fallout from that curious incident last year has resulted in Canada playing a peripheral role in a long-running and escalating political drama in the smallest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere, two lush tropical islands with a total population of about 50,000, a combined land mass of just over 250 square kilometres, a seat in the United Nations and not a single traffic light.
Ottawa promptly dispatched a senior immigration official to the St. Kitts capital of Basseterre to grill authorities about exactly what was going on with its highly lucrative but already suspect policy of selling citizenship and passports, while leaders of an unprecedented multi-party political coalition that came together a few months ago to oppose Prime Minister Denzil Douglas are claiming the passport controversy is just one more reason it’s time the Caribbean’s longest-serving head of state should be voted out of power.
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