BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, May 17th 2017 – At least two unnamed Caribbean leaders may have tried to persuade St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris to resolve the standoff with China in the Ren Biao matter.
Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said the standoff on the Chinese fugitive matter could have implications on the Citizenship by Investment programme in the region.
Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia in the OECS have similar programmes and Barbados, Jamaica and The Bahamas have indicated an interest.
“Those who have spoken to me are very concerned with the overall economy as it is in the Caribbean region, and with many countries seriously relying on the Citizenship by Investment to assist in shoring up their economy and assist in the stabilisation and growth of their economies…and with the economies as they are in the Caribbean region, and what appears to be a successful model that was pursued by my Labour administration a few years ago, there is concern and it could be discussed in caucus when the CARICOM leaders meet in July this year,” said Dr. Douglas.
China said St. Kitts and Nevis, which does not have diplomatic relations with the Peoples republic of China, is fast becoming a haven for criminals by harbouring Ren Biao and accused Prime Minister Harris of being un-cooperative on the issue. Biao, who is on the Interpol list, is wanted in China for defrauding a state-owned company of US$100 million.
China said it intercepted communication on April 16 in which the fugitive, who is in St. Kitts and is an economic citizen, called relatives in Beijing seeking an additional US$190,000 to help to continue pay for his protection by Kittitian authorities.
The Government first denied having formal information on the matter, but regional media outlet, CaribUpdate said its own investigation reveals that the Ren Biao matter was raised via an unnamed Caribbean country with the Timothy Harris-led Administration in January this year.
“There was a direct request made on the issue of Ren Biao in January to (Miss Kay Bass), the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis from the Permanent Secretary of another Caribbean country,” CaribUpdate said.
The regional media house said this was also followed by direct communications between the Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit of St. Kitts and Nevis, Ms. Jacqueline Berry and the same Caribbean country and its counterpart in Basseterre.
CaribUpdate further reported that at the meeting in Basseterre, officials of the Timothy Harris Government and law enforcement officers including members of the High Command were provided with details of the claims of financial impropriety.
The Head of the Financial Service Unit in St. Kitts and Nevis and the Head of the un-named Caribbean country subsequently met in Basseterre in April this year on the Ren Biao issue.
CaribUpdate also said that Kittitian security officials met with Chinese security officials over the issue in early April this year after they were granted a visa waiver from Basseterre to enter St. Kitts and Nevis.
They were met on arrival at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport by St. Kitts security officials on April 14th and spent a week on the island.
Prime Minister Harris has admitted knowledge of the matter but the questions remain, who in his government has been offering protection to Ren and who is collecting the the protection money