BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, (May 19, 2017 ) — In what many are saying is the true voice of reason, Federation’s independent and largest circulated newspaper ‘The Observer’ in a bare-knuckles editorial has exposed the opposition’s hypocrisy where when in government they would have done one thing but when in opposition are now telling the government not to do same.
In its issue #1176 of Friday May 12, in an editorial captioned ‘All should be treated equally under the law’ Observer newspaper’s editor pointed out: “When the Unites States presented extradition papers to St. Kitts and Nevis for the men that they wanted, the charges were properly laid out. The United States hired lawyers. The matters were taken to courts, due process was observed.”
It concluded: “The same must obtain in this case and if Mr (Ren) Biao is to be extradited, it must be done properly. The laws of St. Kitts and Nevis must be followed.”
The editorial is making reference to the calls by the Opposition Labour Party that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis hands over two alleged Chinese fugitives who are citizens of the Federation that are wanted by the mainland China government. Their citizenship was granted by the Labour Government while in power.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr the Hon Timothy Harris had advised the Federation that investigations are being done that will allow the government of St. Kitts and Nevis to 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 the country’s passport.
In a simple language that everyone could understand, the hard hitting editorial started casually with a bit of this country’s history and progressed on to the matter at hand. That presentation would help to jog people’s memories, while in the most effective manner would apprise those who are new to the subject, and bring to reality those in denial.
“A St. Kitts political leader in the late 1990s told the United States Department of State that campaign funds were collected from Charles ‘Little Nut’ Miller and others wanted by the United States. These monies were used to assist with the 1995 election campaign, but that those monies did not influence any decisions that the government made thereafter, which involved the United States extradition requests for four men at the time wanted in the United States for conspiring to import a tonne of cocaine into the United States,” the editorial opened.
According to the Observer, at least two of those men also had United States citizenship. It added that the United States had filed extradition requests for Charles ‘Little Nut’ Miller, Glenroy ‘Bobo’ Matthew, Noel ‘Zambo’ Heath and Clifford Henry in May 1996. The editorial further stated that after receiving and doing all of the legal leg work, St. Kitts and Nevis began the process.
“The government in Basseterre held at all times that the process must run its course and each of the requested men must go through due process although some of them held St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship and United States citizenship at the same time,” the editorial informed.
“The men hired lawyers and had several hearings in the courts. They won some of those trials and lost some, but the Labour government maintained that the men had rights and that the matter must be played out in court.”
Despite adverse publicity locally and internationally which included a CBS ‘60 Minutes’ expose, the Labour government in Basseterre held its position the Observer editorial maintained. It stated that according to the Labour government, they had rights and the issues must be played out in the local courts.
Revealed by the Observer’s editorial was the fact that Clifford Henry, believing that a court victory in a Basseterre court ended the matter, he was arrested by US authorities when he entered the United States.
“Charles Miller surrendered to be extradited mid February 2000, a full 5 years after the United States commenced extradition proceedings, Noel Heath and Glenroy Matthew were extradited to the United States in February 2006 and March 2006 respectively,” the editorial advised. That was ten years after extradition proceeding began, the editorial reminded its readers.
The editorial laid it out to the readers a one paragraph quote from the Los Angeles Times of February 20th 2000 in which it described Charles ‘Little Nut’ Miller by stating the frustrations the US law enforcement officers endured.
“We find it hard to swallow why the same politicians who allowed the extradition of persons accused of trafficking in cocaine to remain in St. Kitts and fight extradition for as many as 10 years, are now encouraging the current government to act in haste without regards for the law of the land and due process,” lamented Observer’s editor.
“Mr Ren Biao became a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis almost 4 years ago under the Labour administration of Dr the Hon Denzil Douglas.”
According to the editorial, Interpol had informed the then administration of Mr Biao’s arrival in St. Kitts and Nevis and the editor posed: “Why did the then government allow him to land and get settled in St. Kitts? The action that they are demanding from Harris now is what Douglas should have taken in July 2014 when Biao landed in St. Kitts.”
Biao was allowed to land and get settled in St. Kitts, and is now a resident and citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, stated the factual editorial.
It laments: “The demands by some to give him up to China makes little sense to us.”