Heavy fines and penalties for breach of passport law proposed

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Homeland Security, Hon. Sam Condor

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 21ST2012 (CUOPM) – Lawmakers in St. Kitts and Nevis will debate legislation on Thursday imposing heavy fines and penalties and term of imprisonment for persons breaching the provisions of the Passport and Travel Documents Act.

The proposed modifications in the Passport and Travel Documents (Amendment) Bill, 2011 also facilitate the insurance of e-passport.

The fine is to be increased from four hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars and imprisonment from one to three years for a person found guilty of altering or tampering with a passport, is found in unlawful possession of a passport or who finds a passport, neglects or fails, within seven days of the finding, to send or give it to a passport officer or to the officer in charge at the nearest police station on summary conviction could be imprisoned for a period not exceeding three years and in default of payment of the fine to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

The legislation, which is in the name of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Homeland Security, Hon. Sam Condor, also impose similar prison term and fine for other offences including impersonation or false representation as being the holder or the rightful possessor of a passport when he or she is not; impersonates or makes false representation to procure or attempts to procure the issue of a passport to himself or herself or to any other person; parts with the possession of a passport to another person without lawful authority or for an unlawful purpose; destroys or makes away with a passport or by wilful neglect allows any person to obtain possession of a passport; without having actual personal knowledge of the applicant for a passport, makes a declaration verifying the declaration of the applicant or vouching for the fitness of the applicant to receive a passport, or makes such a declaration merely on information obtained.

Thee-passport should contain biometric information stored on a micro chip that can be used to authenticate the identity of the holder and should contain additional safety features that are not present in the machine readable passports. These additional safety features should increase security against fraud, alteration or counterfeit.

The Bill also removes all references to endorsement of travel documents as this practice would be discontinued.

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