Friday 13th April, 2018 –A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister today (Friday) outlined that it has come to the attention of the Passport Office that person or persons in St. Vincent were found with a copy of the bio-page only of a Passport purported to be of Antigua and Barbuda origin.
The authorities in St. Vincent have since passed on the information to the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda. The matter is currently under investigation and authorities in Antigua and Barbuda are collaborating with the authorities in St. Vincent.
Preliminary review of the information that was shared according to the statement indicates that the passport was not issued by the Passport Office of Antigua and Barbuda.
The Acting Commissioner of Police, the Permanent Secretary in the Passport Office, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary held a meeting on the subject, with the officials agreeing on steps to carry forward the investigation. Though the steps were not revealed, it is believed that the senior officer’s suspension may be the result of today’s meeting.
Two recent audits of Antigua and Barbuda passports the statement continued have been conducted. However, a reputable independent accounting firm will be engaged to conduct a third audit.
Additional security measures intended to eliminate any unlawful and unauthorized access to blank Passport books have been put in place.
There are a number of security features which make it difficult for the ePassport to be duplicated and to minimize the fraudulent use of the ePassport the statement detailed.
The statement concluded that the Permanent Secretary will continue to collaborate with the Royal Police Force in the investigation of the circumstances which triggered the St. Vincent Police to act.