The following is a statement from the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, prime minister and minister of finance, on the new options for the St. Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme:
Fellow Citizens and Residents:
Over the past several weeks, the federal government has been engaged in a consultative process with developers and other stakeholders to maintain the high quality of the CBI programme. To date, our programme has been a success.
This success is due to the hard work that we have invested in improving the programme since Team Unity took office about three years ago. We have improved the efficiency, enhanced its good governance, and insisted on high standards of due diligence. As a result, the St. Kitts and Nevis CBI programme is recognised throughout the world as the platinum standard.
St. Kitts and Nevis recently signed historic visa waiver agreements with Russia, India and Indonesia. Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis enjoy visa-free entry to more than 140 countries, including Germany, France, Holland, Italy and the United Kingdom. This shows that our strategies are working and that the government should continue to develop its CBI platinum brand.
The Hurricane Relief Fund, which we launched in October 2017, has been well received by the market and has exceeded all expectations. A number of applications are still being processed.
We said at the time that the HRF was only temporary and would expire at the end of March 2018. We are now ready to announce its successor, as well as a revised real estate offering that will further invigorate our CBI programme.
A new fund called the Sustainable Growth Fund will be launched. The new fund will invest in sustainable areas benefitting every citizen and resident of St Kitts and Nevis, [such as] health care, education, alternative energy, heritage, infrastructure, tourism and culture, climate change and resilience, and the promotion of indigenous entrepreneurship.
The Sustainable Growth Fund for a single applicant will require a contribution of US$150,000, inclusive of government fees. The contribution for a family of up to four will be US$195,000, following incremental steps. We think this is attractive and sustainable.
We will retain the existing real estate investment option at US$400,000, plus US$75,000 in government fees. This investment can still be resold after five years. However, in order to attract luxury resort developments, there is now being proposed another option where real estate offerings that require a US$400,000 investment may attract two applicants at US$200,000 each, plus government fees. However, this can only be resold after seven years. We have given favourable consideration to the recommendation by real estate developers for existing developments to qualify for inclusion in the new option.
We will maintain our very high standards of integrity, rigour and robust due diligence. The due diligence standards of St. Kitts and Nevis are ranked among the highest in the world. St. Kitts and Nevis not only has the oldest citizenship-by-investment program in the world, but the most highly regarded. This success was endorsed by the 2018 Passport Index of Henley and Partners, which ranked our programme as No. 1 in the region.
Let me repeat: St. Kitts and Nevis is the platinum brand. We stand for integrity, rigour and robust due diligence. In fact, we continue to improve our due-diligence process and in the near future, we will be introducing biometrics, starting with applicants from high-risk countries. We shall continue to refine our programme and will continue to strengthen our platinum brand.