Three OECS countries offering economic citizenship are reporting having mixed fortunes.
The St Kitts and Nevis program is under review after having in recent years been the major driver of the federation’s economy.
Dominica meanwhile appears pleased with the results its own program is yielding, while the government of Antigua and Barbuda, a relative newcomer to the business, says it intends doubling its efforts to get more foreigners to buy into its Citizenship By Investment program.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne told parliament last week that there was a 25 per cent drop in revenue over the last six months.He says efforts are being made to reverse that trend.
“We hope that we will be able to increase the amount of revenues from the program and to ensure the sustainability of those revenues. It is true that we are operating in a more competitive space now which will make it far more difficult but at the same time we just have to step up our game and try to introduce some more creative initiatives in order to increase the CIP revenues.”
Dominica is meanwhile reporting that it was able to surpass the eighty million dollars it had projected to raise under its economic citizenship program.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has promised to report to parliament on the matter. He says his efforts and those of others involved in promoting the program have paid off, with some of the funds being used in the country’s recovery efforts following the devastation caused by Tropical storm Erika last August.
“I will report to the parliament the full extent of the amounts raised in this financial year just ended on June 30th but I can say to you that the $80 million dollars which we projected to raise in this current financial year, we raised much more than that and that program has been a major source of funding for the recovery effort in meeting a number of our obligations, in underwriting the expenses associated with the there as the Prime Minister and the minister of finance to places like Vietnam and Thailand to promote the program. I recalled just after Erika I went to four countries in three days promoting the program, giving speeches, promoting Dominica, seeking to attract investments because I understand as the leader of the country the need to for us to minimize the demands on the tax-paying public.”
The St Kitts and Nevis program which in the recent past generated huge sums of money for the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation – SIDF – is currently being refashioned by the Team Unity administration. Prime Minister Timothy Harris told the business community on Saturday July 16th that the program had received several body blows which left it reeling.
“We’re going to have a changed conversation about the CBI and its role in the economic development. What has been clear and must have been clear by at least 2014 was that the way in which we have marketed, the way in which we had organised our CBI program was not going to be the way for the future. It was clear when in May 2014 when the FINCEN Department told you what the US government thought about the CBI program. It should have become clearer when in November 2014 the Canadian government withdrew the visa free access, it tells you then if you were paying attention, that that part could not be pursued any further. We are committed to a CBI program but we are saying St Kitts and Nevis’ economy must never be for the future overly reliant on the CBI program.”
The government intends holding a series of consultations on Basseterre’s Citizenship By Investment program.