The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].
Before I start this letter I must state that, unfortunately, since PM Ralph Gonsalves told us that he sometimes tells lies, I have never believed a word he has spoken without reliable confirmation from elsewhere, or documentary evidence of such from someone else’s hand.
I apologise to the people of SVG, at home and in the Diaspora if you think my opening statement is rude and disrespectful. But must hasten to add the disrespect comes from the man himself, about himself, in his own self admission of being a liar.
Much the same I am suspect of anything he writes since he put his name to the teachers contract and then later admitted that he knew when signing it, that is was unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable. I am also really sorry about being able to say that as well.
I am sorry for Vincentians everywhere that our Prime Minister put himself in the position of anyone being able to say such things, in repeating his very own words. May I propose such revelations by him may have brought us all into disrepute, and the whole Caribbean, perhaps the English- and Spanish-speaking world laughs at us. His followers say they don’t mind all that because he is building us an airport. They don’t even mind the accusations of rape and accusations of sexual assault, because he is building us an airport. They even had what was described as a rape rally, remember that?
Now, my repeating his own words will make him as mad as hell, I hope he isn’t mad at me again, because I am only repeating his own words. I don’t behave so, so why must I put up with him behaving so?
Today, Jan. 7, 2015, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines government denied a statement by the United States Department of Treasury that a former Iranian national whose activities are being closely monitored had acquired citizenship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
He went on to tell reporters that “the records of the citizenship and residency department of the Office of the Prime Minister showed there are four Iranians by birth who are granted citizenship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines” during the period 1997-1998. He absolutely denied that it was possible that this Iranian had Vincentian citizenship or a Vincentian Passport.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told a news conference that Minister of Foreign Affairs Sen. Camillo Gonsalves has been advised by him to inform the US State and Treasury Departments of these facts.
My problem with that is, how can we be sure of the truth of that statement? Are they facts, how do we not know that someone didn’t issue Iranians with passports, false or unrecorded citizenship papers, how do we know the truth about that. With all the passports that were burnt at Camden Park, what evidence do we have that none of that series are missing, some even perhaps not burnt, some sitting in a drawer at someone’s home. How can we be sure? Those passports should never have been destroyed, they should have been kept, the corners clipped and stamped cancelled on every page, only then could we be sure. Only then we would have been able to truthfully say we can account for every passport.
He further told the press gathering that the Vincentian citizenship granted to an Iranian in 1997 was to the 10-year-old son of a medical practitioner and his wife born in Bangladesh. That would have been during the NDP regime, they didn’t sell it did they?
I knew that when I wrote my article!
Gonsalves said that the medical doctor was employed at the hospital here and that the son is now a medical doctor now residing overseas while the other three “Vincentians of Iranian birth” are a 47-year-old barber, a 43-year-old mother and a 20-year-old son.
I knew that when I wrote my article!
Gonsalves said “Each of these four applications for citizenship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was supported by references from reputable professionals in this country. Of these four Iranian-born citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, (the) one (who) is a medical practitioner … is the only one of the four who currently has a valid passport of St. Vincent.
So there we are no NDP hanky panky, but I could have told you all that myself, I already had all those details.
My letter based on the US Treasury Press Release, blew the gaff wide open, as they say.
The United States Treasury Department said that Hossein Mansour Zeidi, 49, is among nine individuals and entities under various Iran-related authorities under surveillance for their “support of Iranian government sanctions evasion efforts and human rights-related abusers, including those engaged in censorship”.
The readers need to remember all the articles I wrote regarding SVG taking money from Iran for the Argyle airport, in return for our vote at the UN supporting them when they were being considered for sanctions for killing Christians for being Christians. We inevitably abstained from voting, which was a support for them. It’s all there in the UN records, I have posted it all before.
The United States Treasury Department further said that Zeidi holds a St. Kitts and Nevis passport, number RE0003553 as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines citizenship and he carries the alias Hosein Zeidi and Hossein Mansour Zeidi. He has a United Arab Emirates (UAE) national identification number 444169.
The Treasury Department said Zeidi was “responsible for converting foreign currency into US bank notes.
“The Iranian government contracted with Zeidi and Seyed Kamal Yasini to convert Iranian funds denominated in non-Iranian local currency into US dollars,” the Treasury Department said.
“To date, these individuals and their network have effected the delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars in US dollar bank notes to the Iranian government in violation of E.O. 13622,” it added.
But Prime Minister Gonsalves insisted that “none of these four Iranian-born citizens is the person who is referred to in a US Treasury Department bulletin as Hossein Zeidi otherwise known as Hossein Mansour Zeidi.
I ask would the US Treasury make such a statement if it was untrue, who are we going to believe. Would they make such a rash statement without some knowledge? Do they tell us lies?
Gonsalves went on to say “None of them is this individual who it is alleged in the Treasury bulletin … to be an Iranian by birth, or who is an Iranian citizen and who holds citizenship from St. Kitts including a passport from St. Kitts which they have listed and the allegation that he is also a citizenship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
Ok we now accept that Mr Gonsalves, we fully accept that.
Gonsalves said “our citizenship and passport record and data bases reveal that the allegation that he is a citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is incorrect. He is also not a holder of a passport of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
I have been told that all the citizenship files are all held in the prime minister’s office, every single one of them. I am also told that he approves every new citizen. So therefore he would not need to look very far in the files or his own memory to know if Iranians were granted citizenship during his stewardship. We have already covered the passport situation, there is a big black hole regarding our passports, because of the raging inferno at Camden Park.
Gonsalves went on to say that the alleged date of birth of Zeidi is Sept. 11, 1965 noting “this date of birth does not correspond to any of the dates of birth of the four Iranian born citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
OK PM, we accept that he is not one of them, you do go on repeating yourself.
“The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines wishes to make it clear that it does not and cannot discriminate against any person in relation to the grant or withholding of citizenship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the basis of nationality or place of origin.
Sorry but I think they can, and I think they do, and they don’t even have to give a reason, just a rejection letter. They can reject anyone they should so wish, just as they can grant to anyone the so should wish. As long as it is constitutional, and I have my doubts about even the constitution being observed and respected when one looks at how this government have set up companies in contravention of the constitution, PetroCaribe SVG for instance.
“The universally acknowledged qualifications for citizenship are present in our laws and are laid out in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Citizenship Act,” Gonsalves said.
He said that unlike St. Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean countries, his country “does not grant economic citizenship by whatever name it is called”.
I ask would that also cover issuing passports for political reasons? How about if someone has one of the passports which were supposed to of been burnt?
He said the former government had instituted an honorary citizenship programme and “as everyone knows very early in the life of our administration, the law in relation to this program was repealed and the program of honorary or economic citizenship was discontinued”.
Then lets question why Dave Ames and his family got Vincentian citizenship, wasn’t that a form of economic passport. Would he have still got a Vincentian passport if he hadn’t sunk a whole lot of screaming investors’ money into the holiday resort at Buccament. Don’t say because he lived here for seven years, because that is an untruth that has been used before. Ames never lived in SVG for more than an average of 4 days a month. He lives in Essex, in South East England, all the time and I know that for a fact, I could take you to his front door.
But back to the Iranian agent, Hossein Mansour Zeidi, is it true that he visited the Vincentian Embassy in Cuba in 2010?
I have heard it voiced and seen it written that is where the US$1 million in cash came from that was hawked around Kingstown, I wouldn’t even go there, it’s an allegation that is un-provable even if true. So as such, I must state that we cannot entertain that even as a possibility. So I must ask people to stop talking about that and to stop writing about it also. Please don’t put it in any comments about this letter.
Nothing written here is written with hate, malice or spite. No person referred to or not mentioned, or even by inference, is directly or indirectly accused of any illegal act, neither do I mean to express or imply such.
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].