No record in SVG of Iranian-born man on US Treasury Department list – PM
January 9, 2015
No record in SVG of Iranian-born man on US Treasury Department list – PM

There is no record in this country of an individual, whom the United States Treasury Department lists as an Iranian-born Vincentian citizen.

According to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the man whose name was given as Hossein Zeidi never applied for, nor was he granted{{more}} a Vincentian passport or Vincentian citizenship. Also, the Prime Minister said the information given about the man does not correspond with any of the four Iranian-born individuals who were granted Vincentian citizenship in the late nineties.

Flanked by the Chief Immigration Officer Stanford Hamilton and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Godfred Pompey at a press briefing on Wednesday, the Prime Minister read a prepared statement to the media, which discredited an article published on a blog, as well as a report broadcast by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

“The records at the Citizenship and Residency Department of the Office of the Prime Minister show that there are four Iranians by birth who were granted citizenship of St Vincent and the Grenadines; one in 1997 and three in 1998.

“The one in 1997 was at the time a 10-year-old son of a medical practitioner and his wife who were born in Bangladesh,” Gonsalves said.

“The other three Vincentians of Iranian birth are a father of 47 years old, mother 43 years old and a son 20 years old at the time in 1998 when they received their citizenship,” Gonsalves went on to state.

“Our citizenship and immigration records and databases 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.”

The Prime Minister further informed the media that the father of the then 10-year-old was a medical doctor who worked at the then Kingstown General Hospital, while the other Iranian man was a teacher at the St Martin’s Secondary School, where the son was also a student.

He also stated that the individuals’ applications for citizenship were supported by well respected Vincentian citizens, including a retired leader in the teaching profession, as well as a realtor and a member of the clergy.

Of the four, the Prime Minister said that the only current bearer of a Vincentian passport is the son of the medical practitioner, who is now also a medical practitioner, and last renewed his Vincentian passport on December 5, 2011.

“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 granting or withholding of citizenship of St Vincent and the Grenadines on the basis of nationality or place of origin.

“The universally acknowledged qualifications for citizenship are present in our law and are present in the St Vincent and the Grenadines Citizenship Act, chapter 117 of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Unlike St Kitts and Nevis and other countries, St Vincent and the Grenadines does not grant economic citizenship by whatever name it’s called….”

Gonsalves reminded the media that the honorary citizenship programme that was established by the former administration was removed when he came to office after 2001.

He said that he advised the Minster of Foreign Affairs Camillo Gonsalves to inform the United States Treasury Department of the information.(JJ)