Already, they have commenced talks about having uniformed application forms and the setting up of an oversight committee that would audit all programs and according to prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica and the other OECS countries, have agreed to establish uniform legislation for that purpose.
“In respect to the CIP/CBI, in addition to agreeing on moving with uniform legislation, uniform application forms and the setting up of the oversight committee which would assist in auditing our programme, reviewing our programme from time-to-time and making recommendations on how to continue to strengthen our programme,” he said.
Skerrit said plans are also underway to provide Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) training for staff at the various CIP units.
“We want them to be trained and certified. We believe that would it is an important component of good governance especially with financial transactions” he added.
He said these measures will not only strengthen the CIP in the region but also help to dispel a lot of the criticisms of the program in the region.
The CIP has been a major revenue earner for several Caribbean islands. It allows people to become citizens by investing in a country.
However, the program has come under serious fire lately after a number of businessmen holding passports under the program have been fingered in allegations of corruption.
Meantime OECS Prime Ministers have signaled their intention for the establishment of a trust fund to finance the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
Skerrit told reporters at the end of an OECS meeting in Antigua that it will be similar to what exists with the Caribbean Court of Justice or CCJ.
The CCJ is funded through an independent Caribbean Court of Justice Trust Fund. … The income from the Fund is expected to finance the expenditures of the Court (remuneration of judges and other employees, operation of the court) in perpetuity.
“We have asked for a simplified approach to this in terms of reporting back to us, in terms of what is required to finance the court in the medium to long term” he said.
Skerrit was speaking during the 4th Meeting of the OECS Assembly held in Antigua this week.
Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Justice Janice Pereira has over the years spoken on the finances facing the court even as there are more pressures to deliver additional services to the people of the region.
She said the allotment for the operation of the court coming from the individual member countries’ national budgets is too low and that the financial woes are compounded by late and sometimes short payments of these allotments.
The ECSC serves the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat.