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The proposed changes to the Passport Act to be brought to Parliament on Tuesday will not protect persons who may have engaged in illegal activities surrounding the issuing if the travel document, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says.

“The objects and reasons of this bill [are] to amend certain provisions of the existing law to effect better administration of the issuance of passports and to validate certain passport fees,” Gonsalves said on radio this week.

The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has objected to the proposed changes, saying they “appear to remove the possibility of bringing legal action against corrupt and unscrupulous passport officers who may have misconducted themselves over the past five years”.

But Gonsalves said this is not the case.

He explained that while Cabinet on Feb. 26 approved fees for the e-passport and those fees came into effect on March 3, the legal provisions were not put in place.

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“… as happens from time to time, the new fees were not published or gazetted, so you had to validate them,” said Gonsalves, who has ministerial responsibilities for passports and legal affairs.

“So when they say it means you could sell a passport for $100,000 and you couldn’t do anything about it because it is validated, the fees which are validated are the fees in the schedule,” Gonsalves said.

He noted that Vincentians applying for passports in St. Vincent will pay EC$150, while those applying in the United States will pay US$150.

He said if anyone charges more than those amounts, charges could be brought against them civilly or criminally.

“Because the validation and the immunities relate to the only to the $150, which is the legitimate charge. The validation doesn’t deal with any excess of any charge than is in the schedule,” he said.

He accused the NDP of using “a Goebbels-like technique — to speak falsehoods, repeat the falsehoods frequently enough and loudly enough and they believe that people would believe it”.

Validation of laws is something that has been happening in the country before the Unity Labour Party came to office in 2001, and is done all over the world, Gonsalves further said.

“Because there are times when, administratively, the gazetting or the publication for the statutory rule and order they are not done.”

He further noted that the NDP had said that the amendment would   exonerate corruption at the SVG Consulate in New York, where deputy consul-general Edson Augustus was fired earlier this year for taking money from persons and promising to helps them to secure U.S. Permanent Residence Cards.

But Gonsalves said while the Passport Act says the minister can designate a consular officer as a passport officer, his government has never done so.

“… because we said we must have one place to issue passports, it’s here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Passport officer is the Immigration officer.”

Gonsalves said consular officers only collect fees for the passport and the courier and send them to the Chief Immigration Officer in Kingstown for processing.

After a recent audit of the New York Consulate, the Director of Audit said that fees in excess of the approved amounts were collected there for passport, but Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance has contended that this is not so.

Gonsalves, noted, however, that the Director of Audit did not say that they fees collected were not sent to Kingstown.

7 replies on “Changes to Passport Law will not exonerate illegal activities — PM”

  1. Peter Binose says:

    So why write all the irrelevant crap, why not write exactly what is meant. Why would the persons who drafted the Bill be so legally ignorant to know that where a law that can be interpreted in more than one way, it will at some time in the future be used for a purpose other than its meant for. Therefore the Bill should be redrafted.

    So cancel the Bill reading, get the drafts people to redraft it so as it’s not ambiguous and can be fully understood by all, and so as all can understand exactly what it deals with.

    Having said that, because the man is a self admitted liar, I will study it some more, and make more observations later.

  2. This Gonsalves guy really is trying to insult Vincentians. You say that the bill is only for future Passports, but we all read and heard what is in that bill. This has to be the most insulting Prime Minister SVG has ever had. To think I use to support the guy is unbelievable at this point, it didn’t even take me long to figure him out. Watch a time in SVG, so many to go to jail when the government change, they talk about otleyhall and upto now no one went to jail, we elected you all to arrest the otleyhall guys and upto now, so I am left to believe that nothing happened at Otleyhall.

    But trust me many are going to jail when the ULP leave office and a lot of them will run, there are members in government buying real estate over seas already, they getting ready to run. Lol watch ah time, OWN THE JAIL.

  3. Peter Binose says:

    Once more Gonsalves chooses to insult us Black Vincentians.

    Goebbels was one of Adolph Hitler’s closest associates and most devoted followers, he was known for his zealous orations and deep and virulent anti-Semitism, which led him strongly to support the extermination of the Jews when the Nazi leadership developed their “Final Solution”. In simple terms Goebbels arranged and organised for the extermination, the murder of millions of Jews.

    What a disgraceful thing to do, to compare any Vincentian with Goebbels. Once again Gonsalves is insulting us black people. Wake up people and carefully analize everything he says, why because he is still at, still insulting us and heaping disrespect on our heads.

  4. Gonsalves please STOP insulting the intelligence of the Vincentian people! STOP IT for Christ sakes!!

    You admitted that you tell/speak lies sometimes and that you don’t mind ‘wuking obeah’ for the Lord. You have lost the trust of the majority of the Vincentian people you lead.

    Your proposed passport amendment is only designed to protect the crooks (sexy pastor and only God knows who else was/is involved over the years) from being prosecuted. Why on earth would you seek to amend the Passport Act at this point in time when there are thousands of other more important things and legislative matters you should be dealing with as a matter of urgency/priority?
    Perhaps you should have considered passing the following instead:
    Integrity in Government Act
    Transparency in Government Act
    Reduction of State Victimization Act
    Punishment for Corruption Act
    Misbehaviour in Public Office Act
    And while you are considering those Acts, please consider enforcing the penalties for the Rape and Sexual Misconduct Act. You would save yourself the heartache now rather than waiting when it will be too late for you. Your choice Comrade!

  5. Brian Alexander says:

    Imagine Peter Bignose calling anyone a liar!

    The absolute BIGGEST LIARS in St Vincent are Peter Bignose and his NDP cohorts.

    Bignose, do you remember your lie about Ralph Gonsalves picture appearing on our $ bills?

    Bignose, do remember your lie about the PM owning 2 LIAT planes and leasing them?

    Bignose, do you remember your lie about the PM using taxpayers money to take his mother to Rome to see the Pope.

    Bignose, you too bareface and lie!

  6. Peter Binose says:

    Dear pretend Brian Alexander

    Yes my name is ‘Bignose’, Peter ‘Bignose’ Binose, I have had my leg pulled about my nose all my life. So your childish jibes are like water off a ducks back.
    Your comments are very silly and most people will know they are a personal attack on me, the conveyer of everything true, very, very annoying, but true.

    Now I know the truth annoys this nasty Marxist regime, because its whole being is based on lies, and administered by liars.

    Show us all one instance where anything that I wrote is untrue, just one thing will suffice but all would be better.

    I am not a member or supporter of the NDP, show me where I have ever declared such.

    Show us all where I have ever told a lie, show the people and prove such.

    Show us and prove where I have ever taken part in ridiculing Gonsalves with anything that is untrue, including your reference to his picture on dollar bills.

    When the articles appeared regarding the allegation that Gonsalves owned two of LIAT fleet aeroplanes. My comments written against those articles was that I did not believe such. Any one can look back and see what I said. So now you show us otherwise and prove such.

    Show us where I ever commented about Gonsalves taking his mother-in-law to Rome at the taxpayers expense, show the people and prove where I wrote such.

    I have written about the bag of money that contained a million US dollars in cash and the great ensuing share out. But never said Gonsalves took part in that fiasco.

    I have written many times about the rape charge and sexual assault charge, in all the six reported cases that the DPP refused to allow to be prosecuted.

    I have written many times about the diplomatic passport granted to one Mr Morgan, a man who was neither a diplomat or a government employee. Three years later he was caught at a London airport and [accused of possessing cocaine].

    I have written about Gonsalves signing a contract with the teachers that proved to be worthless , he had told them it was the best the ever had. But it turned out to be unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. Gonsalves later said he knew at the time of signing it was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.

    I have written and commented on hundreds of stories and articles, but have always told the truth.

    So now show the people one story or comment that is untrue and prove it to be so.

    Ps if you would like me to start listing things like the 120 nasty names Gonsalves has called people I can do that, they are all on file. Or comment on other things like Gonsalves involvement in the Grenada revolution. Or Gonsalves involvement in the riots in Jamaica when US20 million dollars of damage occurred. I have all those things written and recorded, very easy to retrieve, I have them stored in the latest cloud system.

  7. Brian Alexander says:

    Peter Bignose, you call me a pretend Brian Alexander, but you do not say that you are a pretend Peter Bignose.

    My name is mine, are you jealous of it?

    Almost every Vincentan has seen your nonsensical, delusional, semi-illiterate, vitriolic rants against the World’s Best Prime Minister – – and know that you are full of crap.

    You are jealous of a man whom the MAJORITY of Vincentians voted for in the last 4 general elections.

    You are jealous of a man who was a University Professor …. a place where you have never been, and never will ever attend.

    You are extra-ordinarily jealous of a man whom the US government called “the most INTELLIGENT and affable Prime Minister in the region.”

    You are extremely jealous of a man whom West Indians from all the islands wish…..was their own Prime Minister.

    You are really jealous of a man who is an accomplished LAWYER, when you could just barely string two sentences together.

    You are stuck in the world of the 1960’s, especially regarding your total and complete ignorance of political systems.

    You are exceptionally jealous of a man who has achieved more in his career than you will ever do in your entire lifetime.

    Why you waste your time writing that nonsense is anyone’s guess.

    Nevertheless, like the saying goes, “give the fool enough rope to hang himself……..”

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