Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 11, 2017 (SKNIS): The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme is designed to attract only legitimate investors, said Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, as the rebranded programme is now the “platinum standard” worldwide.
“Our CBI under the Team Unity Government is only open to legitimate persons to participate. For us, it is an honour and a privilege for anyone to be able to become a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis and we want the most worthy of personalities around the world to come help us build a greater St. Kitts and Nevis than we now have,” said Prime Minister Harris. “Clearly, those who are tainted in anyway as a result of criminal activities cannot be part of that forward thrust of making our programme the platinum standard.”
Prime Minister Harris said that it was necessary to change the way the programme was operated.
“We said that we were determined to bring a new order. We therefore had the IPSA [International] Group come in and do a comprehensive overhaul of our CBI Programme and that led to improvement in the control; it led to new management – where we brought in persons with the relevant skills sets in insurance, financial, banking, arrangements in anti-money laundering to be part of the management network at our CIU Unit. So we brought in a new cadre of employees to serve that particular industry,” said the minister of finance. “We also introduced a new system that would allow the leadership of the unit to be able to monitor what was going on with respect to any application 24/7. But importantly, we went beyond that to look at the due diligence system because that is critical to the very viability of outcomes and we brought in new providers so that no one would have a monopoly in relation to this matter.”
Senior Minister and Premier of Nevis, the Honourable Vance Amory, responded to a question posed in relation to the CBI and possible tainted funds being received. He reflected on the establishment of the Escrow Account, noting that where investments are concerned, such an account will ensure that the funds received are protected until they are used primarily for the purpose for which they were received, so that we protect the applicants from any fraudulent activity.
“The fact that the government has decided to put in place an Escrow Account requirement dealing with all the funds which come in for investment through our developers, is to ensure that the use of those funds as indicated by the developer – that he has the funds for and on behalf of the applicant – that those funds are used for the purpose for which they are intended,” said Senior Minister Amory. “I think we have to be very careful of that because in some cases before now, we have had instances where our citizenship has been granted and the investment money would have been received or would have been purported to have been received and the development is not completed and that is an issue with which we are taking very serious consideration.”