Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says Dominica’s economic citizenship program is designed to attract investors to Dominica, and applications for economic citizenship must be “heavily scrutinised.”
The program topped discussions on the Dominica Labour Party’s Next Level radio program last Saturday, amidst claims that wanted Indian national Darwood Ibrahim, has obtained a Dominican passport, through the economic citizenship program.
Skerrit said applications for economic citizenship of the Commonwealth of Dominica must go through the due diligence agency for extensive research before it’s approved. If the investigation is “not satisfactory”, the applicant will not be allowed to obtain citizenship under the program, he said.
“When that report comes back to us, if there is any adverse report, as minor as it may be, the application is terminated at that point, so the interview panel does not bother itself in interviewing thatperson,” he said.
If the due diligence report is satisfactory, an interview panel comprising the attorney general and staff of the Financial Services Unit among others, speaks with the applicant, who can then be rejected, based on response, according to Skerrit.
“Even if the due diligence comes back that you’re squeaky clean, and during the interview, by the interview panel, they find that you’re uncomfortable in the manner in which you may have answered some questions, they may not recommend you to be a citizen,” the Prime Minister said. “Reports coming to me indicate that the interview panel is very very rigourous in its approach.”
Applications, once recommended for approval, must be forwarded to the minister of finance who can also deem applications unsatisfactory.
Skerrit emphasized that the process of obtaining economic citizenship of the Commonwealth of Dominica is “not done only by one agency”. The ministry of immigration must also see the applications for the processing of a naturalization certificate, once they have been approved by the minister of finance.
Once naturalization certificate is signed by minister for immigration and national security, the application is passed on to the Chief Immigration Officer, where it is also “heavily scrutinised”, according to Skerrit.
“Even at the chief immigration officer’s department, it is heavily scrutinized to ensure that all the documents are there,” he pointe out.
Dominica began its economic citizenship program in the 1990s under the Dame Mary Eugenia Charles administration.