26 Feb 2021

Tuvalu passport sales plan under attack

7:08 pm on 26 February 2021

A former Tuvalu prime minister, Enele Sopoaga, is strongly critical of plans by the government to sell passports.

Former Tuvalu Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga

Former Tuvalu prime minister, Enele Sopoaga Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

Enele Sopoaga said the government has proposed raising $US3.9 million dollars this year and $US79 over the next ten years.

He was quoted by Pacnews saying citizenship is much more than a piece of paper.

"It is about embracing values and principles. It represents the roots that go deep in our Tuvaluanness, our memories, our culture, and our patriotism to the pride of our nation, Tuvalu.

"Citizenship carries the right to express and the duty to be as a Tuvaluan," he said.

It is understood that foreigners would buy the passports for $US119,000 dollars.

Sopoaga said the critical issue was the citizenship of Tuvalu.

"You may have citizenship without a passport. But you can never have a Tuvalu passport without Tuvaluan citizenship.

"Citizenship carries not just a right, but a duty to serve Tuvalu and protect its reputation all the time."