Citizenship by Investment Programs, which exist in at least three CARICOM countries, have caused a major rift among Heads of the regional bloc when they met in Guyana earlier this week, according to a report by Carib Update News Service.
It appears the Heads are at loggerhead over what to do with CARICOM nationals who have bought passports under such programs which exist in Dominica, Antigua and St. Kitts and Nevis.
According to the report, CARICOM’s Office of the General Council submitted an opinion in February recommending that any person whom a CARICOM country grants citizenship must be recognized by any other CARICOM state as a national and must be given the same rights as persons who get their citizenship by either birth or naturalization.
But according to Carib Update News Service, Vincentian Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has made it clear that his country does not agree with the opinion and will not be acknowledging its recommendations.
On the hand, Prime Minister of Antigua, Gaston Brown, is adamant that CARICOM countries must recognize all citizens of Antigua, not matter how they obtained their citizenship.
Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Allen Chastenet said the issue would not have been resolved at the Guyana meeting.
Giving the feature address at the opening of the Guyana meeting, Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit said he believes that with the “requisite due diligence of applicants, Citizenship by Investment Programs can provide the desperately needed capital for entrepreneurial development.”