Attorney General, Levi Peter, and Minister of Tourism Ian Douglas, have both defended the government’s economic citizenship program in parliament on Tuesday.
Douglas believes that the program has ‘great potential for Dominica’ while Peter insists that it is transparent and ‘well constructed.’
Speaking during his contribution to the budget debate Douglas stated that the program has suffered the misfortune of falling victim to politics.
“We have allowed politics to cloud our judgement,” Douglas, who is also MP for Portsmouth, said. “We have allowed a lot of reasonable positive initiatives for this country in the political cut and thrust, in the debate on the political platform and other areas of political interest that we have lost the true meaning of the initiatives. I believe seriously that the economic citizenship program has suffered that kind of misfortune.”
He noted that, despite this, the program must continue. “I strongly believe that is a program we must continue to pursue, I believe that is has great potential for Dominica,” he pointed out.
On the other hand, Attorney General Levi Peter, noted that the program is ‘not hidden’ and is transparent. “The economic citizenship program is a serious, well constructed and robust program,” he told parliament on Tuesday.
The attorney general pointed out that every applicant for economic citizenship has to present his or herself in person to an interview panel during which, on many occasions, he, the attorney general, is present.
“On other occasions I may not be present but somebody else will be present representing the interest of the state,” Peter remarked.
He said the purpose of such interviews is to ascertain whether the applicant is “considered suitable to be given or granted economic citizenship.”
Peter described rumors that someone simply turns up with a brown envelop, slip it to a minister or some individual and walks away with a passport as “complete and utter rubbish.”
He stated that information on the program is on the government’s website “and is available.”
In his budget presentation prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said the program will be expanded to target investors who prefer fixed investments, such as real estate, and/or a local address.