BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Two Chinese fugitives, alleged to have defrauded State institutions in the Peoples Republic of China of US$100 million, will continue to benefit from protection in St. Kitts where they are Economic Citizens, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said.
In a national address Tuesday night, Harris said China is not a Commonwealth country and assistance can only be provided to a country, that is not a member of the Commonwealth, if that country has concluded a specific agreement to this effect with St. Kitts and Nevis.
“There is no such agreement between St. Kitts and Nevis and China. Therefore, the extradition assistance that was being informally sought cannot be provided within the confines of St. Kitts Nevis law,” Harris said.
“I am advised by our legal team that they have examined all relevant laws, international conventions and bilateral treaties applicable to St Kitts and Nevis and the clear legal position is that there is no basis for extraditing St Kitts and Nevis citizens in this way.”
The Prime Minister said St Kitts-Nevis will not simply allow its sovereignty and laws to be trampled upon by permitting any nation to attempt to engage in forced rendition of any citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis from its shores.
“Each and every citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis is entitled to the full protection of the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis. They are entitled to that protection not some of the time or at the whim of any Government. They are entitled to that protection all of the time,” Harris said.
But Harris said the matter is under active investigation by this government.
“As a responsible member of the international community, St. Kitts and Nevis will never become a safe haven for criminals. Your government has therefore instructed the relevant law enforcement and investigative agencies to investigate the claims against these individuals so that we can determine if there is a legal basis to strip them of the privilege of having the citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis and the great honour of being holders of our country’s passport.”