The Antigua and Barbuda government has denied that a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) citizen had used a “fake” national passport to enter the Dutch island of Sint. Maarten earlier this week and called on a local media house to “apologise to the nation for its harmful error”.
A government statement issued noted that the matter had been discussed during the weekly Cabinet meeting and “condemned a media house whose news broadcasts and on-line publication wrongly reported that a fake passport, used to enter Sint. Maarten, by a citizen of another Caribbean country, was an Antigua and Barbuda travel document.
“In fact, it was a fake passport bearing Panamanian credentials. The Cabinet called on that media house to apologise to the nation for its harmful error, the third such error in less than a week,” the statement added.
Media reports said police in Sint Maarten arrested a man, with the initials T.P.C, who arrived at the Princess Juliana International Airport with a fake passport last Sunday.
The reports said that the man travelled from Antigua to the Dutch island with the falsified passport, and after verifying that the documents were indeed falsified, the suspect was arrested by the Alpha Team at the Princess Juliana International Airport.
Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade Minister E.P Chet Greene said he was now calling on the media house to practice reliable, truthful and responsible journalism.
He said the media house, in an attempt to insinuate the fake passport in question was an Antiguan and Barbudan passport, used images of the Antigua and Barbuda passport to support their story without any verification from local or foreign authorities.
“Authorities in Sint Marteen and Antigua and Barbuda have confirmed that the passport in question is not an Antigua and Barbuda passport,” Greene said criticising the media house saying that the reporting was “irresponsible, damaging and deceitful.
“This would be the third instance in seven days that the ….media house has carried irresponsible, deceitful and intended to cause damage to the good name of Antigua and Barbuda,” Greene said.