Editorial Staff
7 months ago

Editorial Staff
7 months ago

OECS countries told to work cohesively to address CIP concerns

Countries within the region with Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) are moving to address deficiencies in order to prevent further fallout following the United Kingdom which has now terminated Dominica’s visa-free access.  

Although the UK did not make any specific announcements, there are indications that the same fate awaits Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has expressed concerns about the matter but said that his country was not on the list.

London said that the visa, which went into effect immediately, meant that nationals of Dominica and four other countries would also be required to obtain a Direct Airside Transit Visa if they intend to transit via the UK.

St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew recently stated that the European Union (EU) has agreed to set up a committee to discuss and structure the program that is used by several countries in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to lure investors to the sub-region.

Drew, who is also chairman of the nine-member OECS grouping, said that he met with EU representatives during last week’s EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels, where various concerns regarding the program were discussed.

He said that the concerns were ultimately addressed in a document put forward by him and the head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, Michael Martin, which outlined how the program has been strengthened.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit last week described as “unfortunate” the decision of the UK.

Skerrit said that every country has a right to continuously review its own immigration policies and attitudes to address what it sees as contemporary challenges, and indeed opportunities. He said they have done the same and will continue to do so.

Meantime, Noted Attorney Dwyer Astaphan said on Wednesday that regional governments should work immediately to address the concerns of the programs which are major revenue earners for the region. He also stated that it would be easier for regional leaders to work as part of a collective.

“They must engage the United Kingdom and the European Union to find out what is it that will satisfy you if it reaches the point that there is nothing, we can do to satisfy them then we can conclude that it is spite and bad mind and greed and bullying on their part.

“In the interest of the people yield up your ego and get it right. Sit down with Britain, sit down with the European Union, and we have to sit down with Canada and the United States”, Astaphan advised.

Meanwhile, the St Lucia government dismissed concerns that the United Kingdom government would place visa restrictions on citizens there as it did with Dominica

Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Ernest Hilaire said that the British government statement had clearly indicated that its actions were against Dominica.

“They never mentioned St Lucia, never mentioned St Kitts, never mentioned Antigua, never mentioned Grenada…As far as we know, and we are in constant dialogue with all our international partners, there are no issues in our CBI that need addressing now. Our CBI is reputed to have one of the best if not the best due diligence process,” he said

Adding, “There has been no issue brought before us as relates to our CBI.  If, and I repeat, any international partner raises any issue with us, we will address it. At this point, there is nothing that has been flagged to us,”

He also confirmed that St Lucia was still reviewing the CBI to make it better.


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