For Caribbean countries, Citizenship By Investment is both a blessing and a challenge

President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith. Photo: CNS
President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith. Photo: CNS

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 25 2016 – The Citizenship By Investment (CBI) Programmes, which are now operating in five Eastern Caribbean countries, could be viewed as both a blessing and a challenge.

The persistent decline in foreign direct investment caused by the world financial crisis has been cited by at least one country as the grounds for deciding to initiate a CBI programme.

But the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Warren Smith, told Caribbean News Service (CNS), “the challenge for small countries in this business is the complexities of the due diligence that’s required to ensure that you don’t become part and parcel of international criminal networks. Small countries don’t have as easy access to the types of investigatory and due diligence mechanisms that larger countries would have.

“It doesn’t mean however that it is not possible for countries of our size to be able to develop relationships that would enable them to be able to access that information,” Dr. Smith said.

The programmes in the Caribbean have set off alarm bells in the United States because there is concern that Iranian nationals could be buying citizenship and using these passports to travel to the US or make investments which violate US sanctions. This forced St Kitts to exclude Iranians from purchasing citizenship under its programme.

The UK has similar concerns because the citizens of Dominica, being a Commonwealth country, get special privileges in the UK.

The sale of citizenship has also put in jeopardy the ability of citizens of these Caribbean countries to travel to over 100 countries without having to get a visa.

Dr. Smith still believes that Citizenship By Investment is a legitimate activity for Caribbean countries to be involved in.

And he said the CDB has had informal discussions with some of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) who are either currently active in or are desirous of getting involved in this kind of business.

“The nature of the discussions has been along the lines of technical assistance to help them to get an understanding of what they need to do; what are the critical factors that they need to address; what are the mechanisms and the linkages that they need to develop in order for them to be able to operate effectively in that space without getting themselves into difficulties as has happened from time to time in some of our countries,” Dr. Smith said.

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5 Comments

  1. Lang Mama
    February 25, 2016

    There is no complexity with the due diligence aspect. I know for sure that the due diligence program run by these agencies are just as good as buying a Rolex in China town for $10.00.
    Ask Ma Madeuke about her Rolex Due Diligence. What about kiran Singh that lawyer who was on an Indian wanted list and was here in Dominica with his son.
    What about the Iranians who came into Dominica via Venezuela. The Due Diligence process was as genuine as Skerrit ” Doctor Rate “

  2. lang Mama
    February 25, 2016

    As to who to believe that’s a no brainer. Warren Smith is telling us that the UK is concerned about the CBI ( Crooks Buying Immunity or Citizenship Bought Illegally or Crooks , Bobolist Indulgence). Tony and skerrit said that the UK is fine with our CBI – whatever it means. But then again the same Tony and skerrit said that Interpol said that Dawood Ibrahim does not hold a Dominica Passport whereas the Indian Intelligence Agency reported that Dawood has a Dominica passport. Warren Smith I don’t know you but I believe what you’ve said.
    Rumor has it that since St Lucia and others join the passport scam business Dominica will change the name CBI to CBOCL- pronounced cibockle. Meaning Citizenship Bought On Craig’s List.

    • CHRIS
      February 26, 2016

      Lang Mama you killing with jokes, I can’t stop laughing.

    • event
      February 26, 2016

      @ Lang Mama you wrote “Warren Smith is telling us that the UK is concerned about the CBI… Tony and skerrit said that the UK is fine with our CBI.” You further said “Warren Smith I don’t know you but I believe what you’ve said.”
      Well my friend that Warren Smith is the same Warren Smith that just predicted a 3.9% growth for Dominica, for which unfortunately a lot of you chose to insult him for. But now he says something that might appear a bit negative, then you all believe him now.
      By the way their is nothing negative in what he said in this article nor does it contradicts with what Tony and Skerrit said.

      • February 26, 2016

        A lot if you? I you see Lang Mama with any negative comment about Warren Smith prediction Lang Mama will take back my comment.
        But I will comment on the 3.9%. I am no economist, I just know when my fridge needs supply and when my bathroom needs toilet paper. I know also that a forecast based on predictions is just a forecast. Do I believe that we will see that growth? I don’t . The signs are not there.

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