US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda S. Taglialatela, is of the opinion that there should be residency and fingerprint requirements for people seeking passports in regional countries with Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programs,
Speaking with Ken Richards of WINN FM’s The Bigger Picture on March 21, she said although the US does not tell countries what to do, she thinks recipients should be brought in to be fingerprinted before receiving passports.
“One of the things and I know why some of the countries are reluctant, I would prefer that each country requires the individual to come to the country to be fingerprinted and have their fingerprints on files for passport purposes and other things,” she stated. “I would feel more comfortable because then you know who you are dealing with and if you have biometric data on the individuals then you can perform additional checks and balances on other people to see exactly where they stand.”
She stated that she understands this might disadvantage one country’s program over another, but it would “be nice if they can set a standard across the five countries that have programs and attempt to rationalize their programs a little bit more.”
Taglialatela said each country in the region has a process for people who are seeking passports but suggested a residency requirement.
“I honestly believe that if you are going to have an effective program you have to bring the individual here, there should be some kind of residency requirement whether you come once a year to the island, particularly if you going to need to re-validate your passport…” she stated, adding that if biometric data on passports are done in the country and individuals meet Immigration authorities and go through a final interview before receiving passports, then it will be “much more sound.”
She stressed due diligence in the program.
“I think you have to do the due diligence, you have to make sure who you are talking too, you have to know what their intent is, why they want a second passport and what is it they are going to contribute to the country when they become a citizen of that country,” he noted.
She stated that the issuance of diplomatic passports is of concern to the US.
“The problem is again there need to a process by which these individuals are vetted, by which these individuals are then approved by a group of people whether it is your parliament, whether it is a special panel set up by the Prime Minister but there needs to be something that is transparent and regularized so that people just don’t get diplomatic passports,” Taglialatela stated.