Dwyer Astaphan, a local lawyer and former Minister of National Security, is calling on relevant authorities
Dwyer Astaphan, a local lawyer and former Minister of National Security, is calling on relevant authorities to launch a thorough and speedy investigation into reports of alleged corruption in the granting of St. Kitts and Nevis visas, visa extensions and work permits.
Astaphan intimated that he was appalled by the allegations of corruption and called for accountability. He noted that “it is high time for people in positions of responsibility who are involved in grossly reckless practices, corrupt practices or bypassing the normal processes get put in their places.”
The issuing of visas and work permits fall under the Ministry of National Security, which falls under the portfolio of Prime Minister Dr.Timothy Harris.
Speaking on his weekly radio programme “The Operating Room”, Astaphan indicated that his suspicions were aroused when a foreigner, who is married to a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, made some allegations of corruption against the office of the Ministry of National Security, while speaking to him. After being denied a visa for her child, the foreigner was adamant that it is “factual” that there is an illegal visa operation ongoing.
“Some people pay somebody EC$500 or EC$1,000 and they get visas or visas extensions. Some people go to the Ministry of National Security. The technocrats in the office assess their applications. The applications go the permanent secretary and the applications are denied. A phone call is made and the persons who are denied reappear at the office with the money to pay for the visa or the visa extension and they get it by a phone call,” Astaphan said, as he relayed what was said by the foreigner.
He said if the alleged corruption is confirmed, “appropriate action, even if it means dismissing somebody from whatever office that person or somebody is in, should be taken.”