PASSPORT PROBLEMS PLAGUE TRAVELER

23

Dear Editor,

My recent experience in Antigua has propelled me to write this article. Just let me recapture what took place on Aug. 9 while I was on a business trip to London.

I left St. Kitts travelled via St. Martin, arrived in Antigua and clear immigration in Antigua with no problem, every thing seems very normal so far as entry and immigration procedures concern.

I then presented myself to the Virgin Atlantic check in desk where my bag was tag, my tickets and passport was examined. After about five minutes, two uniformed police officers approached me from the back and grabbed me by the pockets of my pants and start dragging me across the airport towards a small office. I said, “What is going on here?” One of the office said to me, you are travelling on a fake document.

I was then very shocked and confused because I was travelling on a valid St. Kitts/Nevis passport issued to me on March 3, 2005.

At this point I was very eager to prove my identity and I said to the officer, “I am travelling with two expired passport along with my valid St. Kitts/Nevis passport.” I therefore presented to the immigrant officers (who had arrest me) 24 years of my travel history dating back to 1984, but that was not sufficient to convince them of my true identity. I was detained and placed into custody for approximately five hours and deported out of Antigua on the next flight to St Kitts. My documents were then handed to the immigrant officers in St. Kitts with a note that stated that the immigration in St. Kitts should resume custody of this passenger when he is offloaded. However, the immigration officers in St. Kitts validated my passport and did not find it necessary to resume custody and set me free.

The very same Saturday evening the news reached members of the Nevis Island Assembly and their reaction was very positive. They were disgusted by the way a citizen of Nevis was handled in Antigua. An official from the Nevis Island Administration visited me on Sunday and express his dissatisfaction with what took place and vowed to do what he or his government can.

On Monday I presented the passport to the issuing office at the Bath Hotel Administration building and there the legitimacy of the passport was endorsed and the matter was passed on to the Federal Administration, to the Foreign Affairs and National Security Department. Unfortunately I haven’t heard any thing about the matter up until press time.

My expectation was that being a citizen of the Federation this matter would have been eagerly pursued so as to first clear my name in the computers of the world in which I am now flagged as a person who attempted to make international travel on a fake document.

It seems to me the responsibility of the Federal Administration is to do just that, but maybe they do not feel such an obligation because I am from Nevis and Nevisians are second class citizens in the Federal Union of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Of course I am begging them to assist me in clearing my name and I do feel the Nevis Island Administration is doing the same. This is an embarrassing position to be in myself after all the humiliation in Antigua. I am begging to the Federation to hear my plea.

I know I did not vote for any of the politicians in St. Kitts, so there is no eagerness to react to my circumstance but constitutionally the responsibility is theirs.

Now Nevisians need to be liberated from this depressive arrangement which embarrasses the people of Nevis and the Nevis Island Administration. I have returned to the people who I have elected here in Nevis but they can only pass it on to a St. Kitts man. Is this the position Nevisians must find themselves until the end of time?

The revolution must take place in the minds of the people of Nevis and if the politicians want to continue with the inferiority complex which gives them comfort in the shadow of the St. Kitts politicians, let them go on. It looks like the people will have to take the matter in their own hands and seek to free themselves.

Those who are trying to breed ill confidence, those who refuse to address the matter of liberation for Nevis, those who have caused the people not to see good and perfection in themselves and those who continues to dampen the aspiration of Nevis will go down in history as one of the impediments to a people realizing their full potential.

I will encourage the 62% of people who in the 1997 referendum voted yes to independence for Nevis to rise up and erase this undemocratic attitude of the present administration which shows disregard to an overwhelming majority of Nevisian who seek the liberation of their country.

We must do this by any means necessary. Can we do it? Get ready.

Conrad “Miah” Liburd

Nevis

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