Popular Canadian newspaper features Prime Minister Harris
Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister
Basseterre, St. Kitts – St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris is featured in Share Newspaper and its online publication Sharenews.com, where he expounds upon a number of issues pertinent to the development of the federation.
Share, a weekly community newspaper that has been serving the black and Caribbean communities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) of Ontario, Canada, since April 9, 1978, brands itself as being one of Canada’s largest and most influential ethnic newspapers.
In the Nov. 9 article, headlined “Caribbean leaders want Canada to re-engage with the region” and written by journalist Ron Fanfair, Harris discussed a wide range of issues, including reforming and rebranding the country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program and increasing the federation’s diplomatic presence in Canada. Prime Minister Harris also discussed Caribbean leaders’ efforts to advance the agenda of climate change in light of the recent Category 5 hurricanes that severely impacted several islands in the region.
Harris conducted the interview on the heels of the Toronto Global Forum, which is an international conference fostering dialogue on national and global issues. During that Oct. 30-Nov. 1 forum, Harris addressed the importance of building climate resilient infrastructure in small island states.
When asked about the visa restrictions placed on St. Kitts and Nevis nationals traveling to Canada as a result of the CBI practices under the Denzil Douglas administration, Prime Minister Harris said “we understand that the former administration made a mess and lost the trust of the Canadian government. We are working hard to rebuild that trust and this is going to require more conversations at all levels of engagement.”
St. Kitts and Nevis lost its visa-free status with Canada effective Nov. 22, 2014, after the Canadian government expressed some discomfort with the conduct of the former Dr. Denzil Douglas-led government concerning its administration of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program. Since winning the general elections on Feb. 16, 2015, Prime Minister Harris’ Team Unity administration has not wavered in its commitment to reform the program through, among other things, enhancing cooperation and dialogue with key international partners such as Canada.
As it relates to the reform and rebranding of the program, Harris was quoted as saying, “The administrative staff [of the Citizenship by Investment Unit] is skilled and trained in anti-money laundering, immigration, banking and marketing matters, and we have expanded the management corps. We can manage the application system seven days a week, 24 hours [a day], and we are working with international partners to ensure greater transparency and leverage whatever support they can bring us. Periodically, we will revisit each applicant in the program to ensure their circumstances haven’t changed. If they are found to be undesirable, appropriate action will be taken to ensure they no longer hold a St. Kitts and Nevis passport.”
Harris was asked by Fanfair about the recently launched Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF) as a third option under the country’s CBI program. In response, Harris stated, “This plan emerged after we suffered significant damage during Hurricane Irma in September. Four schools, the fisheries complex and our police training school were badly hit, resulting in millions of dollars’ worth of damages. While other countries were more badly affected than [we were affected], we thought it would be best to come up with something creative instead of depending on donations. We wanted to show we could help ourselves in a unique way using the Citizenship by Investment program…We have the platinum brand when it comes to this program. What we have in terms of experience, knowledge and quality of life in St. Kitts and Nevis cannot be duplicated anywhere else.”
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program recently received top scores in the latest CBI Index for the program’s comprehensive due diligence procedures, conducted by Professional Wealth Management (PWM), a publication from the Financial Times.