Undesirable Economic Citizens Could See SKN Passports Revoked LK Hewlett Story Updated: May 01st 2015 at 3:49 pm
The Unity government is taking a hard line to those perceived to be undesirable economic citizens in order to clean up the St. Kitts-Nevis Citizenship By Investment program. The CBI program had fallen into disrepute under the former government resulting in the US government issuing a financial advisory against holders of CBI passports in May 2014 and Canada revoking SKN citizens’ visa-free travel to that country in November last year. “We shall make provisions to revoke the citizenship of any economic citizen who within five years of the issuance of the certificate of registration, commits a serious crime like an act of terrorism, or appears on an international sanctions list, or on a wanted list of any country or international body, or is named in any scandal that might bring our country into disrepute,” Prime Minister Hon. R. Timothy Harris informed Tuesday (Apr 28). He pledged to partner governments across the world, especially the critically important US, Canada, UK and European Union, that no “undesirables” will be allowed to take advantage of the CBI program. “We shall work actively with you to make this happen. We shall be revoking any passport that was used fraudulently. We will not allow our country’s good name to be sullied,” Dr. Harris vowed. He also assured that the government shall not permit or condone the sale of any diplomatic passport. “Our reputation is not for sale for any price.” In 2014 the former administration contracted the services of IPSA International, an internationally renowned risk management and due diligence firm, to conduct an independent evaluation of the program and the CBI Unit. Dr. Harris claimed however, the Labour government paid little attention to IPSA’s recommendations to improve the transparency and efficiency of process. The new government had been urged to act quickly to rescue the program the PM said, and had expeditiously reviewed the report and after consultation with a wide cross section of persons representing developers, agents, service providers, lawyers, ordinary citizens, and workers, decided that it is in the best interest of the country that they implement the 20 recommendations proposed by IPSA international. “These all form the basis of how we restructure, reform and reposition the Citizenship By Investment program and Unit in particular, to its former glory.” PM Harris said his government understands the need the need to make the program more viable as it contributes 36% of the government’s revenue and double digit figures towards the overall GDP. “The Citizenship By Investment program has become a catalyst for growth and development in the Federation and is integral the country’s economic success and social stability. “We are committed to expeditiously putting the necessary reforms in place to ensure the long-term economic stability of the program.”