St. Lucia ponders economic citizenship programme, St. Vincent no longer interested

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St. Lucia ponders economic citizenship programme, St. Vincent no longer interested
Gonsalves
Gonsalves

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves is adamant that his administration would not allow a Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) in that country, describes the initiative as superficially attractive and expresses doubt about due diligence being conducted by countries offering that path to citizenship, according to a report published by CMC.

Dr. Gonsalves told CMC that the downside outweighs whatever money collected as due diligence would be an issue, one OECS country has already taken the lead and others coming later are unlikely to get the same results.

St. Kitts and Nevis has generated billions in investment through its CIP established in 1984 and amended in 2006 to include money paid into the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF). The country’s real estate investment option costs US$400,000 per single applicant while the SIDF requires US$250,000 per single applicant.

Several local attorneys, accountants and business people are accredited to offer a service under the CIP but the process is completed by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Dominica has a decades-old CIP that requires US$100,000 per single applicant. Antigua and Barbuda recently issued its first passport under the CIP. The Antigua and Barbuda programme mirrors the St. Kitts and Nevis CIP in some respects: There is a National Development Fund option for US$250,000; a real estate investment option of Us$400,000 and then there is a minimum investment of US$1.5 million directly into an eligible business as a sole investor or a joint investment involving at least 2 persons in an eligible business totaling at least US $5,000,000 and each of those persons individually invest US $400,000.

St Lucia’s government is now exploring its options for a CIP.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines faces the same persistent challenges like other countries in the OECS including a highly indebted economy, low productivity, the constant threat of natural disasters and the need to attract direct foreign investment. But apart from expressing his disdain for the CIP, Dr Gonsalves is publicly casting doubts on existing due diligence practices in the region, according to the CMC report.

He reportedly said, “When anybody tells me that they do due diligence, I know how due diligence is being done, and to do due diligence for one or two investors or one or two persons who come in and seeking citizenship in one of the other ways, … you can manage the due diligence in those respects.

“But if you have a flood of application, as you have in some jurisdictions for citizenship, you tell me you are doing the due diligence, I only smile, because I know you are going to get caught with several,” the CMC quotes Dr Gonsalves as saying.  “This is why in some jurisdictions you have all these complaints being made about this or that persons being associated with this or that criminal enterprise and so on and do forth, ” Dr Gonsalves reportedly said.

Caribbean countries are not the only ones offering CIPs. The United States and Canada also do the same.

The US offers a path to citizenship for a US$1 million investment in a US business employing at least 10 people or US$500,000 in designated economically depressed areas. The investor can apply for residence in two years and citizenship in five.

The attraction to Caribbean versions of the “economic citizenship option”, apart from the region’s natural beauty, include visa free travel to over 100 countries, no requirement to relinquish citizenship, confidentiality – application information is kept secret, access to international banking institutions, strong asset protection, no residency requirement and the opportunity to live in generally stable democracies.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Recently an Iranian was arrested at Ottawa airport with a St. Kitts passport. Turns out he was on Interpol's wanted list. Now why was this not picked up during the due diligence? This is nothing but another attempt at squandering the scarce resources setting up fancy offices on Dubai , Qatar etc trying to get business from people who will not buy a st. lucia passport that has little value outside the Caribbean. Visas are required by St. Lucians to travel everywhere, compared to St. Kitts passport holders who can travel visa free to Europe, Canada, Dubai, etc. Huge difference, definitely not the same product here

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  2. What you talking about Ralph? We in St.Lucia wish we had a say. Is Trinidad running our country. Is Trinidad running our banks, Trinidad running our distillery,Trinidad running our insurances, Trinidad running our supermarkets, Trinidad even running our laptops, Trinidad running our Prime Minister. So ask Trinidad if we can join that CIP thing. I thought the PM said he was getting some Russians as the meeting with them was so successful. It was a success just like carnival where some popular bands only had 40 people. No offence Ralph we sticking with T&T.

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  3. We don't need that program here. Let's follow Gonzales. He knows something that is skewed with this Citizenship by investment program. Let's find other ways to survive.

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  4. The ENTIRE SLP is just overpopulated with confounded morons, idiots and blasted country bookies than is Gonsalves' government. Simply put.

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  5. When a PM has the gonads to speak with an Authouritarian voice on such an Important and Serious matter, I have a lot of respect for this PM.

    Also it boost up the Pride of the Nation and shows how the people Feel about a matter.
    But when you have an "knee jerking" government who doesn't understand what they are up against and only wants to believe that whatever conditions exist in another island will also exist in theirs is the height of Stupidity.

    We elected a Government to come with innovative ways to propel this island into prosperity.
    Not to play "Russian Roulette" with our sovereignty.

    I hope this is NEVER allowed in this island.
    Because if it ever happens, i will Protest night and day.
    And I don't mind staging a "One man Revolution"

    We cannot allow a group or people destroy everything good this Country has to offer.

    This is MADNESS!

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  6. What are they intending to give with Economic Citizenship, Diplomatic Passports? Because truly, the St Lucian passport is not worth much to anyone. Almost everywhere a St Lucian needs to go, the must get a Visa. Why would anyone want to pay big money for that passport?

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    • I do agree.
      We have allowed alot of undesirables in this Country.
      Many have taken advantage of our hospitality, get married (under false pretense) apply for our passport, skip town and engage in all manner of criminal activities in foreign lands.

      Unfortunately at this juncture, i have no choice but to agree with you.

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      • @ A B. - In Addition , the St Vincent PM is opening his Brand New International Air port Soon ! ! He is Not perfect - but a Good PM .

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  7. Good Dr. Ralph.....Our politicians are looking to get their CUT...In most countries this has been a primary motivation....

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  8. Please do not pimp my beautiful S.Lucia,she's already going through enough. Ralph you and Kenny are bosom buddies please educate him before he make a TERRIBLE mistake.

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  9. Smart move SVG.
    Maybe those dumb Politicians that we keep on recycling in SLU may learn a thing or two from you.

    We are vulnerable states with no resources to even keep proper checks and balances on anything (far-less an ant) Yet we want to behave we are giants and behave like a "ship of fools"

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