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Manager of Harlequin Property, Dave Ames, centre, leaves the High Court in Kingstown on June 22, 2016, where the High Court of England was hearing evidence in a case Harlequin brought against its former accounting firm, Wilkins Kennedy.
Manager of Harlequin Property, Dave Ames, centre, leaves the High Court in Kingstown on June 22, 2016, where the High Court of England was hearing evidence in a case Harlequin brought against its former accounting firm, Wilkins Kennedy.

Naturalised Vincentian Dave Ames, who has been jailed in the United Kingdom for running a Ponzi scheme as part of which he built Buccament Bay Resort, never had a Vincentian passport.

“I make it my business not to discuss individual cases of citizenship or what has been done, unless it arrives at a point which is necessary and desirable to do so,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on Tuesday, when asked whether Ames still holds Vincentian citizenship.   

“Mr. Ames was never issued a passport of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said.

Ames gained Vincentian citizenship under Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party administration and built Buccament Bay Resort, which was the nation’s flagship resort for the eight years it operated, ending December 2016.

“I have no doubt that he had his own reasons for wanting to be a citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. But he has never had a passport from St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the prime minister said.

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Gonsalves, who has ministerial responsibility for citizenship, said that under the Citizenship Act, there are several grounds on which citizenship can be revoked.

“Among them, is if you have been convicted of a criminal offence beyond a particular term,” he said, adding that Ames’ 12-year prison sentence would qualify.

“And secondly, that if you have left the country for five years or more, and you have not written to the authorities that you are still interested in being a citizen or the reason why you haven’t come back to the country…  or you check in at a consulate or embassy of St. Vincent.”

The prime minister said that the evidence is that more than five years have elapsed since Ames left SVG “and there is no report at any embassy or any consulate and certainly to no authority in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before the expiration of that five-year period”.

Ames left St. Vincent on a speed boat in July 2016 after being summoned to court on tax evasion and theft charges, which were later withdrawn.

“You will know that as Minister responsible for citizenship and I’d advise the cabinet accordingly, that I would have, since this matter is in the public domain, requested of the high commissioner in London in the United Kingdom to make an application to provide a transcript of the proceedings, including a minute of the conviction. We are a nation of laws,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister said he could not recall whether the law provided for an automatic revocation of citizenship where a naturalised Vincentian fails to return to the country or report to an embassy or consulate for five years.

“I can’t recall that it is a discretion. I have to double check it,” Gonsalves said.

6 replies on “Ames never had an SVG passport — PM”

  1. This is a good example of duplicity. When asked if Armes had SVG citizenship, The PM answered: he had no passport, then went on to seemingly explain other things, never answering the question. The fact remains that Armes ripped off people and ran while he was a citizen of SVG. Talk about ‘barefaceness’.

  2. LOL, LOL, me nar sell passport, well ah wa he had? Grenadines passport? how the Iranian man found in Canada alledged to got one?

  3. This PM is such a liar ,he lies to the country while looking them in the eyes..No one will get so deeply involved in a country, with out getting a passport. It raises questions of respectable conduct as it relates to the people of SVG. Wake up people. Just saying

  4. Duke DeArment says:

    Sounds like the Prime Minister is in CYA (cover your ass) mode after the entire nation witnessed the years-long love affair the government was having with Ames.
    “You are mistaken. That is only how it appeared to be. We are squeaky clean saints that never make mistakes!”

  5. Duke DeArment says:

    It is like watching a contest to see who is the biggest con-artist. Who can manipulate the most people the easiest? One of these con artists did well for a few years, but the other is able to continue for a longer period of time.
    At the end of the day the result is the same:
    A large transfer of wealth. The fruits of LABOUR are transfered from those who earned it to someone who lies by saying they will make for you a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

  6. The master of half truths, mislead and deception on the pulpit again. This man is in a category all by himself. If you think he can’t go lower he does.

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