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DOMINICA NEWS ONLINE – Applications to the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme has dwindled to 150 in 2016 compared to nearly 2,000 in 2014, says opposition senator in the National Assembly Hon. Nigel Carty.
He blamed the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity’s onslaught on the programme when in opposition which continues to have a negative impact now that it has formed the government.
Carty, a former Minister of Education, Information and Agriculture said the programme, once rated number one in the world, is now being lauded as number 2 in the Caribbean region by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and National Security Dr. the Hon, Timothy Harris.
Mr. Carty told listeners to the Issues programme on Freedom 106.5 FM and Kyss 102.5 FM on Wednesday, that records show that nearly 2,000 citizenship applications were received in 2014 compared to close to 150 applications in 2016.
“St. Kitts and Nevis has moved from processing in the region of 2,000 citizenships (by investment applications) per year. My record is showing that for the year 2014, the last year that the (St. Kitts-Nevis) Labour Party was in office, we processed 1,976 citizenship (by investment) applications. We are now hearing, we are now getting information, that for the year 2016, we had a total passport processing quantum of about 100 to 150. We have gone from processing in the region of 2,000 citizenships (by investment applications) in 2014 to processing a maximum of 150 in 2016,” said Sen. Carty, further pointing out that in November 2014, a total of 276 Citizenship by Investment applications were processed.
“The people who are involved in the programme are saying that inasmuch as the programme has died a natural death, has gone up in ashes as a consequence of Team Unity’s mismanagement now in government and the negative rhetoric and falsehoods when it was in opposition in order to become ‘king of the ashes’, the majority of the applications now being presented are from a newly formed company in which family members of the Prime Minister have an interest,” said Sen. Carty.
Prime Minister Harris while in opposition launched a two year onslaught on the Cirizenship by Investment Programme and it is widely believed that what Dr. Harris and his Team Unity have sown in opposition, is what they are now reaping in government.
In December 2013, then Prime Minister Douglas branded Dr. Harris and his Team Unity as “economic terrorists,” because the Citizenship by Investment Programme was “doing exceptionally well globally.”
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has repeatedly accused the Team Unity coalition while in opposition of orchestrating negative feature articles in the local, regional and international media and launching a massive assault during their two year negative pre-election and election campaign aimed at crippling the Citizenship by Investment Programme in their bid to defeat the SKNLP Administration.
Dr. Harris even accused the former government of “selling passports like black pudding on a Friday.”
Dr. Harris also closed down the Citizenship by Investment Unit in St. Kitts, a move which prompted Silver Reef investor Sebastian Mottram to tell WINNFM that the once the leading programme in the world, is now “at the tail end of the market” as competitors Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada ad Antigua and Barbuda “steal the march and creeping into the market.”