Two Caribbean governments defend Citizenship by Investment Programme

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 31, CMC – The governments of Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts-Nevis have strongly defended their respective Citizenship by Investment Programs (CBI) that some regional countries use as a means of luring foreign investments.

Several Caribbean countries provide citizenship to those investors in return for making a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of their countries.

The Antigua and Barbuda government said it “strongly rejects” the claims being made “two convicted money launderers” that a Syrian national had been issued a passport.

The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) said it “is compelled, once again, to denounce the false information” by the two individuals who have been carrying-out a campaign designed to damage the CBI in the Caribbean

“The CIU advises that it has not approved citizenship or the grant of a passport to a person by the name of Mohamad Ayad Ghazal, nor does it have any record of his applying for citizenship.

“Further, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has recalled all passports and are issuing new e-passports, containing all the biometric data of the holders, with effect from June 1,” the CIU said, noting that its “multi-layered due diligence processes, with leading due diligence service providers and intergovernmental law enforcement agencies, remain resilient.”

Meanwhile, the St. Kitts-Nevis government said that it is disappointed that two members of the European Parliament had sought to tarnish the image of the Federation’s CBI program that has entered its 35th year.

“We are very disappointed that two members of the European Parliament should issue a letter to the EU Commission and the President of the European Council to request scrutiny of our program without a scintilla of evidence of any wrongdoing by anyone in our program,’ Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said, adding that the European had relied on “misdeeds” of the former government “and the inaccurate claim that a Russian citizen of interest to law enforcement agencies was an economic citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis since 2014.

“It is not a good reflection of the reliability and seriousness of members of the European Parliament that they should seek punitive action against any entity without giving the accused the benefit of due process and natural justice and without regard for the consequences of their ill-informed letter, not just for the viability of the CBI program of St. Kitts and Nevis but also for the wider Caribbean.”

Harris said he was calling on the two European legislators “to recall their letters and to apologize to our people”.

Harris said that the CBI programme “has provided the intellectual underpinnings for subsequent programs and permutations thereof by countries such as the USA, Canada, Malta and Cyprus, all of which have their versions of CBI programmes”.

He said for a second occasion, the twin-island Federation will host the Caribbean Investment Summit during the period, June 19-21 that will allow the country to “build a network for greater cooperation and harmonization of the CBI programs in the region.

Harris said he is satisfied that the significant reforms, which have been made to the CBI have transformed it into an international leader amongst all programmes.

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by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 31, CMC – The governments of Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts-Nevis have strongly defended their respective Citizenship by Investment Programs (CBI) that some regional countries use as a means of luring foreign investments.

Several Caribbean countries provide citizenship to those investors in return for making a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of their countries.

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The Antigua and Barbuda government said it “strongly rejects” the claims being made “two convicted money launderers” that a Syrian national had been issued a passport.

The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) said it “is compelled, once again, to denounce the false information” by the two individuals who have been carrying-out a campaign designed to damage the CBI in the Caribbean

“The CIU advises that it has not approved citizenship or the grant of a passport to a person by the name of Mohamad Ayad Ghazal, nor does it have any record of his applying for citizenship.

“Further, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has recalled all passports and are issuing new e-passports, containing all the biometric data of the holders, with effect from June 1,” the CIU said, noting that its “multi-layered due diligence processes, with leading due diligence service providers and intergovernmental law enforcement agencies, remain resilient.”

Meanwhile, the St. Kitts-Nevis government said that it is disappointed that two members of the European Parliament had sought to tarnish the image of the Federation’s CBI program that has entered its 35th year.

“We are very disappointed that two members of the European Parliament should issue a letter to the EU Commission and the President of the European Council to request scrutiny of our program without a scintilla of evidence of any wrongdoing by anyone in our program,’ Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said, adding that the European had relied on “misdeeds” of the former government “and the inaccurate claim that a Russian citizen of interest to law enforcement agencies was an economic citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis since 2014.

“It is not a good reflection of the reliability and seriousness of members of the European Parliament that they should seek punitive action against any entity without giving the accused the benefit of due process and natural justice and without regard for the consequences of their ill-informed letter, not just for the viability of the CBI program of St. Kitts and Nevis but also for the wider Caribbean.”

Harris said he was calling on the two European legislators “to recall their letters and to apologize to our people”.

Harris said that the CBI programme “has provided the intellectual underpinnings for subsequent programs and permutations thereof by countries such as the USA, Canada, Malta and Cyprus, all of which have their versions of CBI programmes”.

He said for a second occasion, the twin-island Federation will host the Caribbean Investment Summit during the period, June 19-21 that will allow the country to “build a network for greater cooperation and harmonization of the CBI programs in the region.

Harris said he is satisfied that the significant reforms, which have been made to the CBI have transformed it into an international leader amongst all programmes.