Former ministers to lose passports

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica ministry of National Security has said that the clerk of the Houses of Parliament is now in the process of recalling all diplomatic or official passports issued to former members of the Senate and the Lower House.

Major Richard Reese, permanent secretary, in a release yesterday, said a number of the diplomatic or official passports being recalled have expired.

The Opposition People’s National Party had charged that Daryl Vaz’s display of a diplomatic passport at a press conference on Monday is an indication that he still enjoys ministerial privileges.

Vaz, the former member of parliament for West Portland, was disqualified from sitting in the House by the court. He had breached the Constitution by acknowledging obedience to a foreign power.

He has since relinquished his United States citizenship and is lined up alongside the PNP’s Kenneth Rowe to contest the March 23 by-election in the constituency.

Following the claim against Vaz, Jamaica Labour Party officials released the names of members of the last PNP administration and their spouses who are still in possession of their diplomatic and official passports. PNP President Portia Simpson Miller instructed all PNP members of parliament and former ministers who have outstanding diplomatic passports to return them to the clerk of the Houses of Parliament with immediate effect.

In a release yesterday, the PNP secretariat said that Simpson Miller “apologises to the nation on behalf of all PNP officials who have not surrendered them expeditiously”.

“Any person who is ineligible to hold such a passport and still has one in their possession has a responsibility to relinquish it to the authorities immediately. This must be done without delay,” the PNP release quoted Simpson Miller to have said.

Simpson Miller charged that Vaz should not have access to public resources during the period over which he is contesting the by-election in West Portland. One of these resources, the PNP said, is a diplomatic passport.

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