Citizenship by Investment Program causes major rift among CARICOM leaders – report

passport stampCitizenship 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.”

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  1. Favoured
    July 11, 2016

    I hear SC Tony lash out against Josesh Isaac for calling out for the legalisation of marijuana and lash out at Mortley for being in St. Lucia during their election. But SC should know that comrade Gonslaves from St.Vincent has been calling for the decriminalizing of marijuana for years SC never saw it fit to criticise the comrade from St. Vincent. In fact as seating chairman Dominica PM will be part by virtue of his mandate as chairman will see a session supported by St.Vincent and Jamaica for the legalisation of marijuana SC playing death ear to that instead for cheap political mischief he attacks Joseph Isaac. Well we know the SC was part of the team that organized for outside influences from Barbados led by the Henry guy to hijack our democracy last election 2014. For CARICOM to succeed people like the SC will have to become irrelevant and a non issue.

  2. DomiChina
    July 10, 2016

    Honorable Skerrit

    My humble question to you Sir
    Where do we go from there Sir?

    Are we going to rescind those passports that are already sold and give the people back their money?

    Are we going to put an early and adjusted expiry date on those passports and terminate the citizenship

    Are we going to RECALL those passports Sir?

    It is clear that the general populace does not support the program and by populace I am including our CARICOM members so I would like an answer please, Sir.

  3. That’s because they all view him as an idiot!

  4. Titiwi
    July 8, 2016

    After more than 40 years we are still bickering and have no true union. there are 15 members with 9 different currencies between them – some of them hardly convertible, such as the Haitian Gourde Dollar and the Suriname Dollar (SRD)- and a further 5 associate members with 3 more different currencies of their own. Caricom is not a true customs union either, the OECS having its own little arrangement within the group with protected monopolies, for example. Of course Gaston Browne would be adamant that citizens holding passports of his country should be given free access to all other member states because that would enhance the value of his passport selling scheme immensely but only for the benefit of little Antigua & Barbuda. And herein lies the seed of disunity and distrust. All these little countries are still looking after their own interests first and it is naive to think otherwise, no matter how much they spend on Caricom.

  5. July 8, 2016

    Bravo! bravo! CARICOM partners hope it’s not too little to late; this madness and disrespect to our passports should have been stopped a long time ago, your silence has been deafening. It baffles me that as a union where we are supposed to be looking out for each other such reckless behavior by the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (one man) could have gone on without a cry of outrage from our other brothers and sisters. Sometimes i ask do we really care or are we too blind to see where this reckless selling of our passports our heritage is going to lead us. When this recalcitrant; greedy administration lead by the so called (PhD) speaks about due diligence their examples have been dismal to say the least.

  6. July 8, 2016

    Passport citizenship is no different to prostitution. It is the same thing in my opinion. That is why those not doing it don’t agree. It is like them saying I have 1000s more children and you must welcome regards for the others.

  7. South City
    July 7, 2016

    The other islands are seeing that these islands are getting alot of investment so they’re just jealous.

    • Dominican
      July 8, 2016

      You do not make sense. If that was so they could have easily started their own passport selling program. Why haven’t they done so? Maybe because they are less desperate or have more pride and honour?

  8. Roosevelt Skerrit you do not know the meaning of the word economic citizenship! Secondly you do not know the meaning of the word entrepreneurial, which is characterized by the taking of financial risk in the hope of yielding a profit.

    An entrepreneur is a person who organizes, and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risk in order to do so. In any event they are utilizing their money form some source other than government.

    What you are implying is that the money from the sale of passports will be given to people to invest, that’s not economic citizenship works. They way that works internationally is like this. If someone is interested in a country, and require economic citizenship, it is mandatory that they invest money in some business employing at least twenty-five people in the country before citizenship can be granted.

    Your program, in Dominica is not an citizenship by investment program; you are into the sale of passports…

  9. forreal
    July 7, 2016

    if something is broken then fix it..if the program has been profitable for dominica then so be other person in dominica can come up with a viable solution to mend or fix dominica..put the 20% of the DNO computer graduates in skerrits place,they would not know where to begin…why?because half of them do not know from their a to their elbows

    • AAGabriel
      July 8, 2016

      Dominica has not profited from it at all, it’s just the few that are involved in it. They profited big style!

  10. July 7, 2016

    That CBI SCHEME is very convenient for lazy, incompetent govts. who are bankrupt of ideas and lack the creativity to develop the country. this a cash cow for them. the govt. is still silent on the panama papers.

    • Jaded
      July 8, 2016

      Not necessarily. Even the U.S. has such a program.

  11. charles
    July 7, 2016

    at the end of the day there is only one winner in all these million dollar passaport selling skerrit

    • AAGabriel
      July 8, 2016

      Too right!!

  12. Tj
    July 7, 2016

    Dr. Gonzales can give advise to Mr Skeritt not to give economic passports. He can only invest in LIAT so St, Vicent can get more flights. Let us see how this play out!

  13. jonathan st jean
    July 7, 2016

    Skerrit’s government’s track record on due diligence,stinks to high heaven.Other governments are right to be hesitant to go along with recognizing citizens of Dominica by this inept and non transparent,crooked scheme.There aren’t viable in Dominica that these leaders can point to,in order to make a case their citizens that this CBI monopoly game is beneficial to their neighbors and as such will be good for them.Further more the risks and threat of terrorism must raise alarm bells.Only in Dominica,Skerritt,can push his slimy schemes down the throat of the population

  14. Jaded
    July 7, 2016

    This creates concern among CARICOM nations in the short term only. For now, CBI investors should not become CARICOM citizens. But in the long term I believe that this restriction will go away because eventually all islands will have a CBI program.

    • Anonymous
      July 8, 2016

      Oh, you really believe people would pay good U.S. $. for passport from Haiti?

      • Me
        July 8, 2016

        No, in fact Haitians are Caricom citizens byut cannot travel freely to all other Caricom countries but politicians like Skerrit want free movement for people from the Middle East and China, who pay their governments for a passport. How hypocritical and two-faced is that?

  15. Finally
    July 7, 2016

    Thank you Ralph Gonsalves. You are my hero on that one. I will never agree to this program under any government.

  16. Reasoning
    July 7, 2016

    :?: Every time this prime mistake of dumb in ca speaks,all i can think of is more lies ! Where are the investments and entrepreneurs who are given Dominican passports ? We are yet to see any of the supposed investments and jobs by his cbi con bribery inability program !!! I am in total support and agreement with the countries and islands which refuses to accept all and sundry with a carry go pass port entry to their ports!!!

    • Locs Girl
      July 7, 2016

      Mister just throwing big words to come across as being honest.

  17. July 7, 2016

    The biggest honour any country can give to someone is citizenship, Skerrit is giving it away like there is no tomorrow :-D :-D

  18. July 7, 2016

    Allu good der, Skerrit will give up his only money making scheme?, passports is our main export :-D

  19. July 7, 2016

    I personally think that buying a passport is not a good idea ,especially when this passport can help you to live in another country which is more advanced economically.The idea of buying passports for citizenship investment ,have driven many people away who had their eyes on Dominica.

  20. LifeandDeath
    July 7, 2016

    Interesting stuff..that’s a real Dilemma that requires serious debate at CARICOM heads of Gov’t level..Dominica, because of the lower passport price is poised to serve as an easy backdoor into the other CARICOM countries through the CSME free movement of labor and Capital premise.
    Seems we can’t have our cakes and eat it now..Will Skerrit agree to share the money with all member states now that they are exposed to “investment citizens” that they know nothing about?
    This does not have a simple solutions and may definitely be the straw to break the CSME back..Well let deliberate and good judgement forum for discussion on the issue..

  21. Doc. Love
    July 7, 2016

    The rest of the Caricom Countries can say whatever they want, but as far as Skeritt is concerned, had it not been for the Citizen by Investment , Dominica would be facing a similar situation like Venezuela. Many of the Caricom territories over the years have put in place many development plans in order to help their economies, eg, in tourism, agriculture and trade. For the pass fourteen years, the Government of Dominica has been bankrupted of ideas, therefore no significant developement is happening on island. As far as Skeritt is concerned, the only way out, as he sees it, is to sell passports. If your vehicle is in need of repairs, you would take it to a mechanic, you would not take it to a dentist. Therefore, you cannot give a school teacher full control to handle all your financial affairs and don’t expect to suffer the consequences. It will be interesting to see what happens to Dominica, a few years from now, when the sale of passports has dried up.

    • Concern citizen
      July 7, 2016

      Sorry it’s not SKERRIT we must blame,
      We have to blame the 23,000. 00 people that keep voting for him under poverty for 26yrs. those DONKEY HOLES, when D/ca sink like VENEZUELA SKERRIT and his family will flee to the USA and Dominicans will eat one and other, but no body eating me, because I’m not in their soupiness

  22. Shaka Zulu
    July 7, 2016

    It was a matter of time. The joke is Dominica CIP is the cheapest. Antigua and st kitts have different requirements and is more expensive. All these folks have to do is buy Dominica citizenship and then go set up business in the more desired islands thereby saving thousands. Antigua may loose CIP sales to Dominica but they get the investors. As i have said before in different terms CIP is no different from prostitution. Now those who doing it trying to get others to accept unwilling by association. Skerrit said that the OECS need strong leadership and i agreed. After 16 years CIP is whst he has to offer and Dominica is the cheapest and ugliest CIP prostitute. He should cut his trip short come back home resign as pm and if he still needs to be in politics go run for village council chairman in villecase. Skeritt is pure mule in a thorough bred race. Not only do we need strong leadership but wise and visionary with moral and principled decision making. Gravely lacking here.

    • forreal
      July 7, 2016

      by your assessment..dominica gets the advantage then!!!…stop using the name shaka are a fake

      • Shaka Zulu
        July 7, 2016

        Your take on what i just said was Dominica getting an advantage and you just realize i am not the real Shaka Zulu. Ok you caught me. Snaps i will have to change my name to Tarzan or bugs bunny. Which real one you prefer.

  23. Neverson st jean
    July 7, 2016

    Its about time the issue came up

  24. smh
    July 7, 2016

    If it were the other way around and Skerrit was advocating against the program while the other countries were advocating for Skerrit would be called an damn fool and lacking and should therefore go with the status quo.

    • Tjebe Fort
      July 7, 2016

      Your statement is, theoretical and has no substance. You may as well argue that IF your auntie was a man she would be your uncle. Stick with the facts as they are, the reality. Skerrit can not force Caricom countries to give free access to people he has decided will be citizens.
      He can not make decisions like that for other sovereign countries by the back door, just because he says so. I imagine a lot of these leaders mightily pissed off with him.

  25. Imelda
    July 7, 2016

    “Entrepreneurial development”???? Where??? A program started since 1993 or thereabouts and NOTHING to show for it except Jungle Bay and Skerrit talking about development!?? The NERVE of that man!!

  26. JoJo
    July 7, 2016

    Roosevelt I am shaking my head. You are rubbing up everyone the wrong way and it is getting worse. You want all these countries to accept your due diligence on people you sell our passports to and compromise their own security? Can you imagine Barbados ever giving full freedom of movement to Dominican citizens like that who even never have visited Dominica before or do not even speak English. Roosevelt remember, you are not the ruler of Caricom my friend like you rule Dominica. You are becoming very delusional and losing any friends you may have left.

  27. Delvin Castro
    July 7, 2016

    Geez Skerrit only money u think about, the issue is the rights of passports holders in caricom not the money from passport sales. :mrgreen:

  28. Dominican
    July 7, 2016

    Where is the entrepreneurial development created by your CBI program in Dominica mr. Skerrit? What is more, where is the money generated by this program mr. Skerrit? We still have a capital full of vagrants and potholes and the jobless figure, especially among our youth is sky high.
    I have great misgivings, not only because of these facts but also because it appears to a lot of citizenships are issued to people from the Middle East, who may be sympathetic to religion based terrorism. Should all Caricom members be forced to afford these people unhindered freedom of access/movement because you insist on making your money this way? I can see why they do not,agree to compromise their security because of your money making scheme. Meanwhile Domicica laws restrict non OECS Caricom citizens with regard to property purchase and charge them an extra 10% tax. is this your your sense of justice?

  29. Cyril Volney
    July 7, 2016

    This has been long time coming. A real “can of worms”….

  30. Erasmus B. Black
    July 7, 2016

    As a mark of true leadership, can the Dear Leader of Dominica now attempt to diffuse the tension and comment on the due diligence used to vet the former Nigerian oil Minister, the Olympic Skiers, Corallo – the “Italian businessman” and Mr Seng, among others? Specifically was their due diligence performed the same way as for all other economic citizens and who are the experts or private companies performing the background checks? Of particular note, did he know about their alleged large-scale corruption?

    I commend Comrade Ralph for sticking to his guns. Maybe he should ask Dominica and Antigua for a Prospectus or else threaten a “SVGexit.”

    • Truth Knowledge
      July 7, 2016

      What exactly are you claiming is or was wrong with the Olympic Skiers in so far as their acquisition of Dominican citizenship is concerned? It is so sad that so many of you are totally incapable of analysing and disaggregating issues.

      • Erasmus B. Black
        July 8, 2016

        @Truth Knowkedge: The Olympics Skiers themselves have already disaggregated the issue far above my poor power to add or detract. They were quoted as saying ” we made a financial contribution to the country that went to various projects including a children’s hospital and in return they granted us citizenship.”

        A wise man once told me that the job of any analyst is to spot and sidestep cow dung (BS). And since youre such a good analyst , hopefully you can dig through the Olympic skiers comment and then I ask you to ask yourself ” do you really think this was an interesting revelation that puts them in the same league with the others mentioned in the original post?” Thanks.

  31. Sing
    July 7, 2016

    Let’s have a referendum; a general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.
    Or compromise. The Caribbean is a people in motion.
    Dr. Gonsalves is vexed because he wants to have some of the profits if he is going to have some of the people who got passports.

    • Shaka Zulu
      July 7, 2016

      Guess what i agree with him.

      • kingman
        July 7, 2016

        when he wants money for liat he know how to talk about Caribbean unity!!!

    • Concern citizen
      July 7, 2016

      Can’t he him self initiate the same programme, if so then why should he get jealous?

    • Tell the Facts
      July 7, 2016

      Was he not (also) the one who discouraged the D/ca from building an international airport and he got one built for his country? If it is at all possible, he should be ignored.

  32. Hamil
    July 7, 2016

    Really PM. The desperately needed capital can be provided by utilising all the fruits and wasted foods and manufacturing them and finding sustainable markets for them. Oh but you guys are too lazy to work hard for the development of Dominica ,so instead you all prefer a get rich fast scheme to benefit not the citizens of Dominica ….. You guys are a waste of time and it shows. Show me one project you all have undertaken and have completed properly. None!.you guys start something then abandon it and later ,years later throw it back into our faces when elections are around stating that you guys will complete it. Where is our hospital? For so long ,almost ten years now we have been promised a hospital . I guess it is still on the horizon!. Yet Charles Savertin a man who has caused the country so much grief is sitting in the white house on tax payers hard earned money doing nothing. Which is what he can do best. Miss Charles knew that an we all know that.

  33. Lang Mama
    July 7, 2016

    Entrepreneurial development like what?. If you now want to talk about Kempinski then why not talk about pre Kempinski. For example the billions of passport dollars unaccounted for.
    At least St Kitts and Antigua can prove their case with evidence of passport money development.

    • Me
      July 7, 2016

      Layou River Hotel. Need I say more?

  34. Observer
    July 7, 2016

    Talk of a united Caribbean. The reality of BREXIT has been with us and will remain with us. So much for a united and region under the CSME banner.

  35. %
    July 7, 2016

    One can clearly see that among other heads of government, Skerrit is like a fish out of water..Clueless and out of touch with reality!This is indeed a very important question that many people never gave consideration to. These three countries,Antigua, St Kitts and Dominica need to defend their case..It’s clear that Skerrit must stay dumb because unlike Antigua and St Kitts,this CIP programme has brought nothing tangible to the people of Dominica,except for a few greedies who havr raked in millions.Not even one vendor selling roasted plantain on Roseaus broken sidewalk, that this CIP programme has brought to Dominica…This is what visionless,corrupt,evil, regimes do the populace!!!!!Dominica must by now be the most badly governed country in the entire commonwealth.

  36. keepingitreal
    July 7, 2016

    this is interesting,in my ignorance i thought all caricom countries sold passports,but im wrong,the islands that do not sell passports have a right to question the viability of a bought passport…interesting,lets see how this pans out.

    • Tell the Facts
      July 7, 2016

      Probably they should commence doing so. They would have a common ground to agree on.

  37. Seminole Ave
    July 7, 2016

    There must be conflicting views…because these passport cash money vaults have not impacted the average person esp in Dominica, there is a “MAJOR” lack of transparency .

    The Boasting of the Program by Dominica’s PM must be of concern, so means if Dominica Cannot or sales have dropped the island of Dominica will not exist..come on dominincans.

    What did we attend schooling for? a lazy regime sit backs and expected crooked agents to sell passports monies in all areas hidden wise. and yet your economy in Dominica is the slowest and poorest, what are the funds used for..

    Black people esp those in Dominica will always be in the doldrums,selling your so call National Pride for a few pennies of gold and silver what a shame.

    Slavery in the mind format is alive and well by non thinkers….

    Dominica’s Laziest Government ever……Labour Party!

  38. 1979 is now #stop the fliping hypocrisy!!
    July 7, 2016

    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.”

    THE QUESTIONS IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! capital for entrepreneurial development BY WHOM?? these people come with capital to start their own businesses… this does NOT bode well for BORN Dominicans, it DOES NOT create a level playing field…how does that translate for BORN Dominicans seeking capital at our local financiers there are no policies in place for protection of our resources and environment. JUS LOOK how a portion of the national park area was given away in the name of entrepreneurial development, building Moroccan hotel and no real tourist population to fill the hotels that we DO have…

    Leadership my ?%%…..jus more CHAOS for these rabid politicians to profit from..

  39. oh Yes
    July 7, 2016

    This Citizenship by Investment Program has been highly questionable and rightly so. While there are economic advantages to be gained the risks are real and potent. Here we see two outspoken and bold leaders at loggerhead on the issue and their varying stsnce tells a lot. On the other hand, the other Caricom leaders pay little attention to Dominica’s prime minister because he comes across as being inconsistent on serious matters.

    • That’s because they all view him as an idiot!

      This comment is in response to the last line of “oh Yes” it should not be at the top!

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