Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean, Used and Abused

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In “CIP IN THE CARIBBEAN USED AND ABUSED,” Ricardo Blackman (for the Caribbean Digital Network) explores the Citizenship by Investment Programs of the Caribbean from various standpoints. We emphatically recommend reading the full article on the Caribbean Digital Network site.

The ship of the Citizenship by Investment Programme of the Caribbean set sail in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in 1984, but the journey, though seen as an absolute necessity by many of the region’s leaders in these very challenging economic times, has been on occasion turbulent. There is, in fact, a school of thought which says that while Citizenship by Investment Programmes may be economically viable, they are reputationally risky, the Caribbean being no exception to this theory. Indeed, following concerns expressed by the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom about transparency and due diligence, at least one of the programmes has had to be re-visited, that’s Grenada’s.

But as recent as Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 (at the time of writing), the Citizenship By Investment Bill was debated and passed in Parliament in St. Lucia, with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Kenny Anthony telling the Chamber that the measure was absolutely essential at this time, while pledging the integrity of the programme.

One of the main reasons for the super rich setting up base in the Caribbean is that the various countries all have programmes to incentivize real estate investment, offering residency permits and citizenship. In fact, in addition to the newly-announced St. Lucia programme, there are currently four Citizenship by Investment Programmes in the region that generate millions of dollars in revenue for their respective governments each year.

St. Kitts and Nevis launched the first Citizenship by Investment Programme more than 30 years ago in response to an economic downturn and offered immediate citizenship to immigrant investors. With the success of the St. Kitts and Nevis programme, in terms of its positive impact on the national economy, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica and Grenada subsequently launched their own programmes.

According to a report commissioned by Arton Capital and the World Economic Forum entitled: Global Citizenship: Planning for Sustainable Growth” there are many different reasons why an ultra-high net-worth individual might seek a second citizenship, including greater stability and security, tax efficiency, ease of travel, higher standard of living, increased options for children’s education, and investment opportunities that may not otherwise be available.

Caribbean countries with a Citizenship by Investment Programme are seen as competitive with all these especially ease of travel. According to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, the Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis passports provide visa-free travel to some 132 countries and territories including all 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone. Dominica and Grenada passports provide visa-free travel to 91 countries and territories including all European countries in the Schengen Zone.

But what are the requirements? [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.caribbeandigitalnetwork.com/cip-in-the-caribbean-used-and-abused/

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