Monday, May 25th

LATEST:
You are here: Islands Islands News 20 passports revoked since 2011 due to ‘administrative errors’

Best_of_2015_587x57_Results

20 passports revoked since 2011 due to ‘administrative errors’

~ Illegal attainment of Dutch nationality ~  

 

PHILIPSBURG--A total of 20 passports have been revoked since 2011 due to what Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams says are “administrative errors” and “the illegal attainment of the Dutch nationality.”

This information was contained in a written response dated April 14 from Wescot-Williams to Parliament on a number of questions posed on the issue by National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament (MP) George Pantophlet.

This is the first-time information on the number of persons affected by the passport debacle has been made public. Wescot-Williams said last week that it was not a “thunder load of persons” who had been affected. In her press release Sunday, she lashed out at Pantophlet, who said late last week that he was yet to receive a response to questions he had asked almost two months ago about the revocation of passports.

Wescot-Williams said in a release that she had provided written answers to Parliament in a letter dated April 14. She also provided a copy of the answers.

However, Pantophlet told this newspaper Sunday, while the PM did respond to questions he had asked following an NA press conference earlier this year, she has never responded to the critical questions asked during a Parliament meeting where the issue was raised. Pantophlet said he had asked what countries and nationalities were affected and what the specific reasons were for the revocation of the passports.

He had also asked to be provided with a copy of the agreement between the Department of Civil Registry and the Governor, which he said he never received.
In her April 14 response, Wescot-Williams said despite naturalisation, every subsequent passport application is screened according to the agreement (covenant) with the governor’s cabinet after 10/10/10. All applications that seem questionable are placed under investigation and all the required documents to provide authentication and/or to verify information must be presented.

She said too that there are some persons who had been naturalised, but their parents’ information had never been registered in the database. These persons were registered years ago with a passport and a valid permit, but never submitted their birth certificate. This, she said, appears as an error in the system. The laws stipulate that each resident must be registered with a birth certificate.

Wescot-Williams said according to article 28.1 of the Passport Law, the Governor must be sure that the identity and nationality of the individual are accurate. There should be no doubt, she noted. Should there be doubts, then article 28:2 states that the relevant documents must be supplied to complete the application.

On the issue of registration, Wescot-Williams said the Civil Registry Department has the responsibility to provide reliable and accurate information. She said all residents who are registered and intend to leave the island must write out of the Civil Registry as stipulated in the law.

 

Political jabs

In her press release, Wescot-Williams called on MPs to refrain from making political jabs and misleading statements for political gain. Alluding to Pantophlet’s statement, Wescot-Williams said serious issues should “not be politicised” in the run-up to the August elections. "I will continue to express my disappointment in those MPs who deliberately mislead the people with their insinuations and political jabs when dealing with serious issues.”

“MP Pantophlet alleged that the PM did not send clarification regarding questions related to the passport issue, while a clarification letter was sent to Parliament dated the 14th of April 2014,” Wescot-Williams said.

All matters related to passports, she added, are regulated by law, as she said, “Is clearly mentioned in the letter addressed to Parliament. The matter at hand is regulated by law. A law of country St. Maarten.”

The Prime Minister said she responded to eight questions posed by Parliament, giving elucidation on the Civil Registry having the responsibility of providing accurate information in compliance with the applicable articles; the cleaning up of the Civil Registry database; the necessity to amend the law with regards to St. Maarten students living in the Netherlands voting during elections; the screening of passport applications by the Governor’s Cabinet since 10/10/10, the need for birth certificates; the regulation as it applies to persons born in the former Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and the Netherlands and the revoking of passports due to existing issues.

MPs, she notes, have the right to initiate changes to the laws to reflect the needs of the people of St. Maarten. Politicising important issues amounts to political jabbing. “MPs have the right to initiate changes they deem beneficial to the people of St. Maarten. However, rather than initiate a discussion of this nature on, amongst other things, changing the law with government, cheap political jabs are thrown left and right.

“These I will deal with in a political context as well. Some politicians have an axe to grind with a particular department, civil servant or individual, others just the opposite. Too often questions to the responsible Minister reflect exactly these patterns. As political lists are being prepared this is becoming more and more evident,” she said.

“The final responsibility for the management of the Civil Registry lies with the Minister of General Affairs. And in that capacity I can always review and question the relevant department as to the implementation of the law. With the many questions in the community regarding procedures at the Census Office, it is my responsibility to investigate and evaluate, but also to educate. I do so in collaboration with the management and other stakeholders.”

Regarding the meeting requested by Parliament on the proposed merger of the TelEm Group with United Telecommunications Services (UTS), Wescot-Williams said Parliament had been presented with answers to the more than 100 questions asked on Thursday, June 12. “In its wisdom, Parliament has postponed the continuation of this meeting until Monday," she noted.

Wescot-Williams said more information on this topic and on the position of Government as shareholder of Government companies will follow.

Economic framework ‘good’ although not yet convincing
Monday, 25 May 2015
PHILIPSBURG--Stakeholders are still digesting the content of the newly-presented draft National... Read more...
Image
AUC honours Best with transformational award
Monday, 25 May 2015
MAHO--St. Maarten Inspector General Dr. Earl Best was one of several persons to receive the... Read more...
Image
CWC set to introduce post-hurricane drones
Monday, 25 May 2015
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--With a week to go before the June 1 official start of the Atlantic hurricane... Read more...
Quake jolts Trinidad 2nd time this week; also felt in Grenada
Friday, 22 May 2015
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--A second earthquake in three days jolted Trinidad and Tobago Thursday. The... Read more...
Fate of domestic surveillance program uncertain after vote
Sunday, 24 May 2015
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Senate blocked a measure to extend spy agencies' bulk collection of Americans'... Read more...
Image
Obama reaffirms commitment to Israel security to American Jews
Friday, 22 May 2015
WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama, seeking to shore up support from the Jewish community ahead of... Read more...
Image
Irish voters support same-sex marriage in social revolution
Monday, 25 May 2015
DUBLIN--The people of Ireland backed same-sex marriage by a landslide in a referendum that marked a... Read more...
Spain's ruling party gets worst local election result in 20 years
Sunday, 24 May 2015
MADRID/VALENCIA, Spain--Spain's ruling People's Party (PP) took a battering in regional and local... Read more...
Image
China, Peru agree to study transcontinental rail link
Monday, 25 May 2015
BEIJING--China and Peru have agreed to study the feasibility of a controversial 5,300 km (3,300... Read more...
Middle East business leaders meet in shadow of ISIS
Monday, 25 May 2015
DEAD SEA, Jordan--Islamic State militants were not invited to a conference of several hundred... Read more...
Image
Education, St. Maarten’s primary emergency
Sunday, 24 May 2015
Dear Editor, Allow me to first of all inform you that I am not an educator nor do I pretend to have... Read more...
Image
Happy showering
Sunday, 24 May 2015
Dear Queenie, Bwahahahahahahahahaha! Thanks for the LOL! Because of you I spilled coffee on my... Read more...
Image
Learning Unlimited and Combined win Interscholastic Soccer titles
Sunday, 24 May 2015
BELVEDERE— Learning Unlimited Hotshots won the age Seven and Under Champions in the 23rd edition... Read more...
Image
Nevis lifts third Masters Cup
Sunday, 24 May 2015
CUL DE SAC—Nevis Masters Cricket Team lifted its third consecutive Leeward Island Masters... Read more...
Image
Sweden's Zelmerlow wins Eurovision Song Contest
Monday, 25 May 2015
VIENNA--Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow won the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna on Sunday,... Read more...
Image
France wins big, Italy, Blanchett lose out in Cannes
Monday, 25 May 2015
CANNES, France--French film "Dheepan" won the top Palme d'Or prize for director Jacques Audiard at... Read more...
Image
Popcorn
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Hans Minnaert: The creative force behind Forget the Popcorn Social media has been abuzz lately with... Read more...
Image
Funds for Sax Concert
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
@ Karakter Friday Connis Vanterpool is lonely. He has been without his trusty, shiny companion for... Read more...
Editorial Safety first
Monday, 25 May 2015
In a way today’s story about mandatory student identification (ID) cards is sad. For many... Read more...
Editorial - Less is more?
Saturday, 23 May 2015
Parliamentarian Maurice Lake has a point (see related story). The Gumbs cabinet has been short of... Read more...
Image
Saturday May. 23, 2015
Friday, 22 May 2015
Image
Friday May. 22, 2015
Friday, 22 May 2015
Notices May 25
Monday, 25 May 2015
Summer Camp Skills Educational Summer Camp is registering children ages 3 to 18 for its Summer... Read more...
Notices May 22
Thursday, 21 May 2015
Friday May 22 FREE BIRD WALK Organised by Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) and... Read more...