Dominica News Online reports on Dominica’s Economic Citizenship Program, a program not unlike those unveiled last week in the Cayman Islands. BBC reported that the controversial issue of the sale of economic citizenship or residency has recently resurfaced in Caribbean countries as cash-strapped nations search for ways of raising revenue in the present economic crisis.
In Dominica, Sam Raphael, owner of the Jungle Bay Resort and Spa yesterday criticized the government of Dominica’s Economic Citizenship Loan program, saying it lacks transparency and has been “cloaked with secrecy.” Raphael, who spoke at a check presentation ceremony at his lawyer’s office, said that many persons are unaware of the Economic Citizenship Program Loan and this hinders the true potential of the loan program. “Unfortunately…the Economic Program has always been viewed as something sinister and negative. So it’s always been cloaked with secrecy. And with that people really don’t know what is happening; we do have an ongoing citizenship program. People are becoming citizens of Dominica even now. Where are the proceeds going?” the resort owner said. “There is no transparency there, and so I think it was better when it was a clear program when the proceeds were earmarked to the productive sector and if you have that on a certain level of transparency I think that would do better. But where you have the people becoming citizens and paying monies and the public has no way of knowing how many people are becoming citizens and how it is impacting I think that’s where the problem lies,” Raphael said.
He said that through proper management and making people aware of the program, the Economic Citizenship Loan could be effective. Raphael presented a cheque of $100,000 towards the repayment of an Economic Citizenship Loan granted to him by the Govenrment of Dominica for the start of construction of the Jungle Bay Resort and Spa.
According to Raphael, Jungle Bay Resort and Spa will repay EC$100, 000 every February and August for the next 20 years. He said that this payment of funds this morning was in response to an article posted in the Chronicle newspaper, which states, “PM urges defaulters to pay up.”
Jungle Bay Resort and Spa was built and is operated in alignment with international Geotourism and Ecotourism guidelines. As an alternative to traditional Caribbean tourism, the focus is on enjoyable nature-based activities and wellness of guests with quality service, guided by the principles as set by both National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations and The International Ecotourism Society (TIES).
For more go to http://dominicanewsonline.com/?p=4774
Photo: Sam Raphael, Jungle Bay Resort and Spa