Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Francine Baron has pointed out that government has put in place a comprehensive due diligence framework in order to ensure that successful persons in the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) Program are of “good character” and “good reputation”.
Speaking at a town hall meeting recently she said stories about Dominican passports being sold to criminals is a lie that has to be denounced.
“So we have in place a comprehensive due diligence framework to ensure that the persons who are successful in the program are persons of good character and good reputation,” she said. “So when we hear stories about we are selling passports to crooks and criminals that is a complete and utter falsehood and we must denounce it.”
She said a system has been put in place to ensure that the government has a comprehensive due diligence procedure.
“We have disclosure forms that have to be filled out by each and every applicant to the program,” Baron said. “That disclosure requires all sorts of information to be provided: where you were born, where you went to school, where you worked, who your family members are, your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, what businesses you worked in, where your source of income is.”
Baron said such comprehensive disclosure is required of each and every applicant.
“We get that information, it’s sent it by the agents to the Citizenship By Investment Unit and that information is sent a reputable due diligence firm,” she explained. “And so using the information that they have provided, they verify if that information is true they go there, they see the people, they carry out investigations and they produce a report to the government to either indicate that this person is a bonafide, person doesn’t have any criminal background, and so on.”
She said there are five due diligence firms from the UK, US and Canada, which she said are all reputable companies that are task with doing a due diligence background check on these applicants.
In addition to the government sending information to the due diligence firm, Baron stated that the government also simultaneously send the information to the CARICOM IMPACTS, which is the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security in the region.
“All names are sent to them so that they can do their own due diligence checks with Interpol and other criminal agencies,” she explained. “We also run those names through a data base of friendly governments.”
She said the government has continued to invest in the staffing arrangements at the CBI Unit to ensure that sufficient staff are there, “who can go through the files, ensure that everything is in order, ensure that the due diligence report captures each and every matter that it should capture, to ensure that the person who come through the program are the right sort of persons that we would want to be citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica.”
She then noted that if it is felt that an interview is required with an applicant, then there is a committee in place who can conduct an interview.
Baron also said that the government has ensured that the financing from the CBI Program are being used for the benefit of Dominicans.