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‘We have not considered a Citizenship by Investment Scheme’ – Premier Smith

- St Kitts example shows how system can be open to abuse
Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith said that the current administration has not discussed the merits or lack thereof of a Citizen by Investment programme as is the case in some Caribbean states most notably in St Kitts and Nevis. Photo: VINO/File
St Kitts and Nevis has the longest running citizenship-by-investment programme in the world. Photo:
St Kitts and Nevis has the longest running citizenship-by-investment programme in the world. Photo:
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Premier Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith said the current administration has not discussed the merits or lack thereof of a Citizen by Investment programme as is the case in some Caribbean states, most notably in St Kitts and Nevis.

In an exclusive interview with this news site on Sunday August 9, 2015, Premier Smith when asked whether the scheme is being considered for the VI said, “We haven’t thought about that…we haven’t discussed that.”

He said he was aware of it being done in other countries but it is not something that has engaged the attention of the Government of the VI at this time.

It is apposite to note that while on paper a Citizen by Investment programme may be appealing and justifiable, the reality of the starkest example of St Kitts and Nevis showed how the system could be abused leading to serious consequences for the country.

Loss of visa-free access to Canada

St Kitts and Nevis, which has the longest running Citizen by Investment programme in the world, had its visa-free access to Canada for its citizens removed late last year because of abuses by the then administration of the Citizenship by Investment scheme which saw prohibited persons entering the US and Canada after they would have gained St Kitts passports.

When then Opposition candidate Dr Timothy S. Harris was in the VI in December 2014 he explained how it was that the system was being abused to the point that visa-free entry to Canada was revoked. He had vowed to make it a priority to restore good diplomatic relations with Canada upon taking office.

Concerns of transparency and accountability

A recent BBC article entitled 'Where is the cheapest place to buy Citizenship?' said that while in the past two years or so, Citizenship by Investment programmes have been introduced in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain, concerns have been raised about transparency and accountability.

“The Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Nevis have the longest running citizenship-by-investment programme (CIP) in the world, which was founded in 1984,” the article dated June 4, 2014 points out.

“There are two methods to obtain citizenship, with the cheapest option being a $250,000 non-refundable donation to the St Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, a public charity. A second option involves a minimum $400,000 investment in real estate in the country,” it said.

According to the article, the programme has recently been singled out by the US Treasury, which cautioned that Iranian nationals could be obtaining passports and then use them to travel to the US or make investments, which could violate US sanctions. (St Kitts closed its programme to Iranians in December 2011.)

19 Responses to “‘We have not considered a Citizenship by Investment Scheme’ – Premier Smith”

  • FIRE (12/08/2015, 09:16) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope he telling the truth!
  • ???? (12/08/2015, 09:31) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    Branson Virgin Islands???
  • dog (12/08/2015, 10:09) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    The rich buying citizenship while humble workers wait 20 yrs. Whether they want to say so or not, the Government does give priority to investors and developers spending millions. They also get tax breaks with importation of goods. This would be the real estate equivalent of Citizens United (USA), where donors can give unlimited money to candidates, effectively buying an election. Buying Citizenship is dangerous. Criminals have deep pockets too.
    • water boy (12/08/2015, 11:34) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      Try 30 yrs just to get residency and still wait for Belonger Status.
      • Me Too (12/08/2015, 14:47) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
        30 years no residency, I've invested some $3mil over that period yet the NDP rich friends will beat me to status.
    • wize up (12/08/2015, 12:33) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ dog; this whole selling out of the territory began under VIP and continue to this day: persons that suppose to have so much money continue to enter the territory and are given all manner of tax breaks while the small VI Landers business owners are granted nothing: both the foreign investors and the locals investors are seeking business opportunity in the territory but the so called rich whites and can fiance political campaigns so they become a law unto themselves..this happens under VIP & NDP...
    • Dog oh dog (12/08/2015, 18:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Dog---20 years--hmmm start counting again, I had to wait 34 yrs to get residence. I have a friend husband and wife 37 years still and waiting. Once that PURCELL gut ain`1t flowing your way..Only God can help you. It obviously wasn`t flowing our way. "That process and policy really need fixing" without clear guide lines, people will always be oppressed and victimized.
  • wize up (12/08/2015, 10:12) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    there is great economic opportunities in this territory and I personally think that the handing out citizenship for cash(investment) is no good idea: the small black man of this territory have to given the chance to develop a business and watch that business grow from year to year, we don't have the vast cash flow like those investors, so please Mr minister do not sell-out our territory for fist full of dollars: please save some of the economic opportunities for the small man, remember we have our children and our grandchildren to take of( the VI Generation).....
  • Liat 521 (12/08/2015, 14:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the rich run things man ask donald trump!
  • Forbidden Truth (12/08/2015, 15:19) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    That is a bold face lie from hell.
    • dog (13/08/2015, 15:09) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      That is EXACTLY what they did!! Gave him status as he runs the government and calls the shots. Just wait until SOpers hole West End. Another billionaire has purchased Little Thatch, 2 houses on the cay, and has the rights to the sand spit for a marina and big fishing business. He will own and change the whole character of the place.
  • De good Doc (12/08/2015, 18:31) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Doc, we need a ministerial shake up....Take charge, Take control---make the changes---- change the direction.
  • No food cook (13/08/2015, 07:22) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    That is something we really need to consider. Its not what you do, its how you do it. We can`t keep ourselves locked up in our stubborn and insecure ways. We have to explore and examined opportunities. We don`t make money, but we need it badly. without money no food cook. We expect leaders to cut deals that are in our favor.
  • Duck1951 (13/08/2015, 09:02) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please do not go that route ! While it may seem that it is a way to generate income from the country what you are doing is creating a selective class that will eventually control most of your businesses and properties . Toronto, Canada is a very good example of this . Can the average Nevisian afford to buy local property in their own country ?
  • Hmm (13/08/2015, 09:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    20-30 odd years is right my parents on 27yrs and still waiting all they have is exemption.
  • Ghost (13/08/2015, 15:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Today's Headlines:

    ‘We have not considered a Citizenship by Investment Scheme’ – Premier Smith
    - St Kitts example shows how system can be open to abuse

    Headlines sometime in October:

    'Granting outsiders citizenship through investments can be beneficial to the BVI'- Hon. Myron V. Walwyn.
    -Allowing outsiders to spend their money in the BVI will accelerate developmental projects in the BVI.

    [Sample of the future article]

    When questioned about the worries about transparency and accountability some BVIslanders and expatriates may have on Citizenship by Investment here's what Hon. M.V. Walwyn had this to say:

    "This is right for the BVI. We need not be so hesitant of change if we are to become independent. The steps we are taking now are necessary for our future."

    Then, in a turn of events that not only baffled this reporter but everyone else in the in attendance to this press conference [including Premier Smith], the Minster of Education and Culture began a non-sequitur ramble about cups and water.

    "Look at this cup in my hand. Ask anyone and they will tell you it is black but I'm afraid those people are wrong. The cup is not black but rather the water in the cup is."

    At that point, an audience member objected, too outraged to remain silent.

    "I was just getting to my point, @$$hole! As I was saying, water is known to be transparent but this is a magical cup that causes objects in the cup to break the laws of physics. If I put transparent water in this cup, it turns into black water. Likewise, if I put this Citizenship by Investment Act in this cup then automatically [as if by magic] it becomes a good idea."

    Please allow this reporter to be audacious enough to say that he is still stun, folks, even as he writes this article. It may seem comical, but this reporter promises you, these words are true and exact. This happened in the British Virgin Islands on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 10:53 am.
  • W*F (19/08/2015, 09:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We should at the very least explore the possibilities. There are pros and cons. See which one exceeds the other.

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