Financial Secretary, Rosamund Edwards, has said that the strength of Dominica’s Citizenship By Investment (CBI) Program lies in the quality of due diligence carried out on its applicants.
She made that statement at a National Consultation on Economic Development in Dominica on Monday, April 24th at the State House.
The program has been heavily criticized by the Opposition on allegations of a lack of transparency but Edwards said Dominica “has a competitive advantage” over other Caribbean countries based on the quality of its due diligence process.
“We are further advised that even where some countries have further investments, many applicants have indicated a preference for the Dominican program based on its due diligence,” she said.
She also stated that these processes are facilitated by “reputable” due diligence agencies in the United States, United Kingdom, and in Canada.
“Due diligence reports are commissioned exclusively by the (CBI) Unit and the reports are convened directly to the Unit by the relevant due diligence agencies,” Edwards added.
She assured those gathered that the information provided within the due diligence reports are kept confidential.
“Reports are not provided to, seen by or discussed with either agents or applicants,” she said.
Edwards highlighted the noticeable increase in the number of applicants under the CBI Program over the past couple of years.
According to her, the statistics are as follow; 2012– 332 applications received, 104 approved, 3 declined; 2013—161 application received, 184 approved; 2014—206 application received, 189 approved; 2015—660 applications received, 447 approved; 2016—1,574 applications received, 1,542 approved.
With regards to the year 2013, Edwards explained that based on the time individuals applied under the program in 2012; their applications were processed in the following year, 2013.