In Defence of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes

Reproduced from Caribbean Trade Law website

citizenbyinvestmentAlicia Nicholls A  60 Minutes Special aired by American network, CBS, on January 1, 2017 has added fuel to the fiery debate on the legitimacy of Caribbean countries’ economic citizenship programmes. Whether intended or not, the segment entitled “Passports for Sale” cast a shadow of iniquity on the programmes which certain Caribbean countries, and to which […]

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48 Comments on “In Defence of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes”

  1. bimboy January 8, 2017 at 10:50 PM #

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-citizenship-passport-international-industry/
    The above article should be seen and dismissed for what it is…SENSATIONALISM.The world is big enough for everyone to live in it,but it would appear that only ´The Mightiest and The Almighties´have a right to oppress the rest.

    Like

  2. nineofnine January 8, 2017 at 11:24 PM #

    In Barbados, the constitution categorically states who are determined a Citizen of the country, any other back door method is deemed illegal…. not so?
    What checks and balances are there to accommodate opportunists of unknown origins?

    We are not a country with open borders.

    Like

  3. David January 8, 2017 at 11:53 PM #

    Selling a passport is a serious thing especially given the type of people these applications originate for Caribbean islands that have CBI programs..

    Like

  4. Sargeant January 9, 2017 at 12:13 AM #

    This article doesn’t mention the Diplomatic Passports that found its way into the hands of the “Investors”.

    BTW CBS had an interesting postscript to the article.

    Editor’s Note: Since our story “Passports for Sale” aired on January 1, 2016, Dominica’s Opposition Leader Lennox Linton – who spoke with 60 Minutes about his country’s citizenship program – has come under intense pressure from some members of the government of Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica. Linton has also been accused of “economic terrorism” by Vince Henderson, the island’s Ambassador to the U.S., who said that Linton’s criticism of Dominica’s “Citizenship by Investment Program” is unpatriotic because it could undermine economic development in the country.

    Like

  5. Well Well & Consequences January 9, 2017 at 2:41 AM #

    Why are small island leaders so eager to sell everything to the very same greedy, vicious animals who seek to exploit their in the Caribbean.

    Like

  6. chad99999 January 9, 2017 at 3:06 AM #

    Alicia’s article is even more biased and slanted than the 60 Minutes segment she is complaining about.

    She claims that foreign donors and investors are subject to “stringent due diligence” procedures but that is clearly not always the case. St. Kitts had to be threatened by the US and Canada before it recently improved its vetting. It sold passports to scores of Iranian fugitives and sanctions-busters before it was brought to heel.

    Grenada sold passports between 1998 and 2001 for about $40,000 a piece to all kinds of undesirables. The program was shut down until recently because Canada suspended visa- free access to Grenadian citizens and the US lowered the boom after the 9/11 terror attacks. Of course, Alicia does not address these unfortunate events.

    To get Grenadian citizenship under the recently re-established investor program, a foreigner must pay a minimum of US $ 300,000 to buy an apartment in a specific real estate project selected by the government. Sounds like formerly corrupt transactions have been brought into the open and declared legal.

    Like

  7. Hal Austin January 9, 2017 at 4:26 AM #

    This article is so stupid and semi-literate it is not worthy of serious comment.

    Like

  8. David January 9, 2017 at 7:11 AM #

    @Hal

    Why not offer counter arguments?

    Like

  9. Bush Tea January 9, 2017 at 8:16 AM #

    Tourism is essentially a form of basic prostitution where we lure Johns to our ‘room’ for a quick bout of self-gratification, in order to pay our bills.
    This passport shiite is a more long-term arrangement where the John gets a life membership to the room …upon one lump sum payment.

    It is not practical to expect a lawyer to see such issues in other than monetary and legalistic terms, so Alicia’s views are par for the course.

    The FACT is however, that whenever a human being, or a human organisation (such as a country) is reduced to the point where, due to their inability to earn a living by using their natural talents to produce goods and services that contribute to the improvement of society – and hence acquire a marketable value …. and instead resort to selling THEMSELVES, via their bodies, their birth-rights (family heirlooms that should be passed on to their children), and their unique IDENTITIES…. THEN THEY ARE WHORES – societal parasites, rather than society builders.

    Admittedly, there are some cases where such persons REALLY cannot do better due to circumstances beyond their control, so this is not a carte blanche condemnation of prostitution… HOWEVER, it is what it is….

    Specifically, there are those who cannot be bothered to exert the effort needed to be constructively productive and who instead opt to ‘sell the cat’….. as well as those who, driven by albino-centric frenzy, sell the cat, the bank, the utilities, the supermarkets, the beer and now the oil company for a pot of silver….

    History has not been kind to such asses….

    Like

  10. Hal Austin January 9, 2017 at 8:41 AM #

    David,
    Counter argument to what? To a bogus narrative trying to justify the selling of passports to Russian gangsters, fraudulent hedge fund managers on the run, and other criminals, as an alternative to good government?
    This is not new. A few years ago I went down to St Kitts to cover a court case of an alleged drug dealer wanted by the US who it is was suspected had the St Kitts government in his hands. It was for the Sunday Express newspaper.
    The extradition was handled by a Barbadian lawyer and the judge hearing the US application was also Barbadian.
    During that investigation it was frightening hearing how democratic state like the US can effectively hijack a plane on its way to Canada in order to lift a passenger suspected of being a drug dealer.
    Passports for sale will bring us even more in to this firmament. It is an amoral policy, lacks integrity and is corrupt.
    But we can always get lawyers and politicians arguing a case that has no moral basis. Let us try another argument: a united and effective Caricom can punch above the weight of any of the Scandinavian countries; Jamaica and Guyana can punch above counties like New Zealand; Guyana alone can out punch the UK, it is bigger than England, has more natural resources and the UK, with a population of 62 million, compared with Guyana with one of 750000 (Greater London alone has a population of 8m, more than Caricom), do the maths. Let us build a stronger and more effective Caricom.
    I do not want to spend my retirement responding to juvenile arguments on blogs, please have a look at my Notes From a Native Son. The arguments are all there.

    Like

  11. David January 9, 2017 at 8:55 AM #

    @Hal

    You therefore have no regard for the due diligence process these islands have in place to filter the bad guys or like Bush Tea and BU your are philosophically opposed to this line of business?

    Like

  12. Hal Austin January 9, 2017 at 9:16 AM #

    No. I do not. All they see is money. They even appoint crooks as diplomats.

    Like

  13. chad99999 January 9, 2017 at 9:34 AM #

    Bush Tea

    I do not see tourism as (mostly) prostitution. It can be almost entirely on the up-and-up as an industry of service encounters.

    When I am served in a North American hotel, restaurant or nightclub, the white maids, clerks and waitresses almost never act like they think they’re inferior. To the contrary, they often try to control the situation and use it to their advantage. Many are so sure of themselves, they even try to make me feel they are doing me a favour to provide me with their services. Lucky me!

    It’s all in your head. Is a bank clerk a whore? No!

    The main problems we have are with the beach boys and such. We have not found effective ways to give all social classes their fair share of tourist revenues. Excluded groups still have to make themselves a nuisance and crash the party in order to make their money.

    Obviously, we need to make adjustments to accommodate the claims of the poorer segments of our societies.

    Like

  14. Sargeant January 9, 2017 at 10:16 AM #

    Posted in the wrong area:

    Many countries offer some sort of residency coupled with net worth and how much you have to invest in that country but very few offer Passports at the outset. The Russian oligarchs who live in some of the most exclusive areas of London had to fork over cash or make some serious investment in GB in order to live there. Canada had an equivalent policy but 99 5% of the applicants were from China and there was some abuse of the process and it was revamped to what is called “Startup Visa for Entrepreneurs”. I looked at the cost of attaining Citizenship by Investment in the countries mentioned in the segment and it ranges from a low of $100,000 USD in Dominica. That sum is peanuts as far as the moneyed sector of the world is concerned and the process seems to be fairly simple in all the territories, most of the people interested will hire a Gov’t connected lawyer to shuffle the paperwork and voila they have a passport.

    What Alicia doesn’t say is that Canadian Immigration officials have questioned and detained several individuals who were travelling on these Passports of convenience but who couldn’t find the country on a map and indeed their English-speaking skills were severely limited. She didn’t mention the downstream effect that this policy has had on the citizens of average means in these Islands where they now have to spend what little money they have in order to travel to another island with a Canadian High Commission to apply and obtain a Visa to enter Canada where formerly it was a matter of purchasing a ticket and jetting off. This policy is partially a result folks overstaying the time allotted when they visit and the lax policy of issuing passports to individuals of questionable backgrounds who are from other countries.

    I would hazard a guess that if passports were readily available in some European countries many of the applicants would prefer to have passports from those countries but look at the sun spots in the Caribbean as third and fourth choices.

    Like

  15. David January 9, 2017 at 10:30 AM #

    The reference by Alicia to the US green card as similar to CBI is not the ideal. Developed countries used special visas to cherrypick skills needed to achieve national development targets. These little islands in the Caribbean have commoditized the transaction.

    Like

  16. Hal Austin January 9, 2017 at 10:40 AM #

    David,
    It is comparing apples with pears. Developed countries, especially the US, use visas to attract highly skilled people, not crooks with ill-gotten money.

    Like

  17. chad99999 January 9, 2017 at 11:35 AM #

    Everyone should know that Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and even Austria have residency or citizenship programs available to investors. It is hard to know just from Internet sources how easy or how hard it is to acquire a passport from these countries.

    Jamaica is planning its own program, which is surprising given the suspicion with which a Jamaican passport is already treated in North America.

    Obviously, a country like Dominica is the bottom of the barrel. But even in the other islands, it is hard to see how any kind of integrity can be maintained. Once a government gets hooked on the money, it will become increasingly desperate to keep the cash flowing. Over time, standards and discipline will begin to break down. The only way to avoid disaster is to put the revenues into an investment trust fund, and then only spend the income generated by the principal.

    Like

  18. Bush Tea January 9, 2017 at 11:41 AM #

    @ Chad99999
    Prostitution is not about sharing your body with someone who loves you, it is about selling your body in order to make ends meet. it is not anything in anyone’s head.

    If a country is able to develop itself for its citizens to the point where strangers WANT to come and visit and admire / learn / study / compare its attributes, then that is a completely different matter. Citizens who serve visitors in such circumstances are not subservient, indeed, they are proud ambassadors of their country.

    There is a subtle but critical difference when we set out to lure visitors to bring their money and come to us to have THEIR self-gratification needs met.

    It like the difference between a proud, family with a happy productive home welcoming visitors over for dinner…and the lady of Bush Hill inviting the passing motorist to stop by for a few minutes….
    If you don’t get the difference, let us drop the topic…. 🙂

    Like

  19. ac January 9, 2017 at 11:50 AM #

    USA is not a good example by which to define moral codes.Fuh Christ sake the newly elected President is a crook given the many liens and lawsuits filed against him for nonpayments to various business contracts he owes
    In as much as i will agree with possibilties of illegal activity which would be a high risk in such endevours one must also appreciate that these small island leaders jobs are to device ways that are productive and generate finances to their nations economies .Economies that are solely driven by a one nest basket Everthing comes with risk but abandonment is not the answer .however putting policies in place to correct would be long term beneficial
    It is so easy to be a back seat driver until given the wheel
    Btw what CBS should be doing is digging up the dirt buried under Donald Trump feet instead of trying to dig up dirt in other people’s backyard

    Liked by 1 person

  20. chad99999 January 9, 2017 at 12:06 PM #

    Bush Tea

    You are wrong and closed-minded about it.

    Many tourist industry professionals and many tourist cities in North America are just as dependent on visitor revenues as Barbadians are. Most people in tourism are specialists, who would have a hard time getting work in any other industry, especially once they reach a certain age.

    The economies of New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, Reno, etc. would sink like stones if tourist revenues were hit hard. People living in cities working in hotels may not have any alternative ways to support themselves. Some literally commit suicide when they run out of cash.

    Like

  21. Vincent Haynes January 9, 2017 at 12:15 PM #

    A balanced overview by Alicia,she has recognised the mismanagement in the past and sees a positive future once managed correctly.

    The greater threat to my thinking is allowing foreign land ownership,T&T recognised it long ago and passed alien land holding legislation and St.Maarten allows no foreigners to purchase land but they can lease it upto 99 years after which it reverts to the owners family.

    We in Bim should execute similar restrictions as to land purchase is concerned,once it is foreign owned we loose it forever unless we want govt to acquire and go through the hoops and cost of international court system.This land is then sold overseas amongst non-nationals and we receive very little in the sale.

    Tourism is the biggest culprit,we should gravitate to home based tourism and discontinue these tourist blocks.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hal Austin January 9, 2017 at 12:15 PM #

    Chad,
    Are you simply being provocative, or just simple minded. You are so rightwing you make Hitler look like a communist.

    Like

  23. chad99999 January 9, 2017 at 2:01 PM #

    According to the IMF, [http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr1486.pdf], St. Kitts has been making a killing from its Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) program, possibly because of first-mover advantages.

    The CBI program accounted for more than one-fifth of all government revenues in 2013. The cash intake from CBI application fees grew from EC$ 12.5 million in 2008 to an estimated EC$270 million in 2013. In addition, the money contributed by foreign applicants to the Sugar Industry Development Fund increased from EC$ 30.6 million in 2008 to an estimated EC$200 million in 2013.

    Not bad for a tiny island (population: 35,000).

    Like

  24. Hal Austin January 9, 2017 at 2:35 PM #

    Chad,
    Use your brain. Stop using Google for information and copying and pasting their ideas. What do YOU think? Develop an original mind.

    Like

  25. Vincent Haynes January 9, 2017 at 4:08 PM #

    Chad5ofnine

    Chuckle………give Hal your ideas…..its a gambit he employs……he accused me of googling as well and asked for my ideas which I gave……they obviously were so nonsensical that he never responded…….he prefers google….hahaha

    Like

  26. chad99999 January 9, 2017 at 4:32 PM #

    Vincent Haynes

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Like

  27. Hal Austin January 9, 2017 at 6:49 PM #

    Ideas from Chad?

    Like

  28. ac January 10, 2017 at 7:23 AM #

    These small island economies backs are against a wall of mounting debt and there should be a genuine concern on bringing the debt down instead the usual political rhetoric of distrust and allowing the bolted horses to continue its uncontrollable mad stamped

    Like

  29. Hal Austin January 10, 2017 at 7:43 AM #

    Savill’s is offering a property for sale in Barbados at Bds$56m. Where was town and country when this planning application came in? Why can’t they use planning law for trade offs ie the applicant gets permission to build a mansion on condition that they pay between 15and 20 per cent to build social hosing.
    It happens in every big city.

    Like

  30. David January 10, 2017 at 8:10 AM #

    The Prime Minister of Dominica was heard patting himself on the back because a 200 million hotel investIs about to go up because of the CBI program.

    Like

  31. Hal Austin January 10, 2017 at 8:45 AM #

    Those people in Dominica wanted to bulldoze seven mountains in order to build an airport.

    Like

  32. Exclaimer January 10, 2017 at 7:52 PM #

    Alicia Nicholls, may be a tad naive but she is certainly no dumb broad. The CARIBBEAN CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT (CBI) PROGRAMMES are highly effective methods of disenfranchising, farther, the Caribbean Negro population.

    Why would a country with a ninety percent Negro population actively encourage “high wealth individuals and their families” to set up roots within their country? Alicia do you not understand that such individuals have an unhealthy disrespect for the locals?

    How long do you think it will take before such groups begin to develop political muscle?

    Alicia, you need to study your history and whilst you are at it take a look at the stateless Palestinians, the rootless Aborigines, the North American Indians and the rest. I do not want Barbados to rejoin that list.

    Like

  33. ac January 10, 2017 at 8:17 PM #

    Exclaimer and while you are at it doing your damnedest to criticize , please tell of any alternative there might be for small island nations to pay off their debt. what if wealthy blacks pursue a similar path to relocate via the CBI program do you believe the outcry and criticism would be the same

    Liked by 1 person

  34. ac January 11, 2017 at 7:10 AM #

    Thinking outside the box is not a selling point of discussion for the Caribbean people . it is really dumbfounding how many of the so called intellectuals asking of leaders to be visionaries with new and better ideas that these so called intellectuals would box their intellect to the same only tired methods of resolution while expecting different results for their leaders
    once upon a time i was told nothing from nothing leaves nothing and the same can be said true of those expecting changes and high expectations without leaving a room for error brought about by change in an imperfect world

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Vincent Haynes January 11, 2017 at 9:04 AM #

    Chuckle…….

    here we go again with emotive language….
    “ninety percent Negro population”…..who or what is a negro?

    then we have….
    “what if wealthy blacks”…..what is a black?

    We pelaus are new kids on the block and have an excellent opportunity to make a go of what is presently ours….the Caribbean archipelago and Guyana.

    We must increase our population through a selective process and at the same time protect our lands from multi nationals and foreign occupiers.

    What is paramount is that we have to start becoming inventors/innovators developing our own unique Caribbean brand.

    Like

  36. ac January 12, 2017 at 5:51 AM #

    We in the Carribbean are loud mouth talking heads loud on criticisms short on vision , However the few among the lot who deflect or detour from the repetitive norms of that which bring us closer to disaster are castigated and isolated ,
    Yet the “many” have not been able to formulated newer and better ideas but cannot but help themselves look beyond their shores seeking and looking for help from those whom they vehemently hate and criticize
    Certainly looking from within is the best way forward but those among us who has the stamina and intestinal fortitude to project such a way forward , please raise your hand
    Those small island govts who have seen a vision that would move their economies forward and have the guts and stamina to face the criticisms for doing so should be commended for doing so .

    Liked by 1 person

  37. chad99999 January 12, 2017 at 11:09 AM #

    The Devil is in the details.

    When Eric Gairy helped introduce the American (off-shore) medical college as a new line of business for Grenada, his political opponents snorted with disgust because they believed this was just another way for a corrupt politician to line his pockets.

    The St. Georges University has proved its value in the Grenadian economy, but copycat colleges in other islands have been much less successful.

    In the same way, it is possible for a CBI scheme to work well. The problem is that, like a medical college, it is highly susceptible to abuse and corruption by local politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Exclaimer January 12, 2017 at 6:58 PM #

    @ AC,

    How much land, assets and citizenships must we sell in order for us to arrest our decline?

    Will the results be deemed a success when we find out that we have sold our souls to the devil?

    Just imagine living in a Barbados where you no longer have access to the beach, barred from visiting a number of locations within Barbados, unable to find flying fish and blackbelly sheep from your local shop as it has become a luxury item deemed unworthy for the poor masses, isolated in some remote and infertile region, unable to visit a foreign country as you lack the means of purchasing a flight ticket and perhaps residing in a prison or a mental hospital because you found it impossible to earn your keep in a post-modern Barbados.

    AC, wake up!

    Like

  39. ac January 12, 2017 at 7:26 PM #

    The devil has and would always be in the details. The trick is putting up roadblocks and firewalls that are hard for the devil to penetrate .
    Throwning one hands in the air and throwing in the towel makes the devil a winner.
    It is demanded of those that are put in charge of economies to find solutions and by all cost avoid throwing in the towel at the drop of each and every criticism

    Like

  40. ac January 12, 2017 at 7:29 PM #

    Exclaimer i ask u a question .here it goes again should there be a hue and cry if blacks coming from foreign lands to relocate do so by way of the cbi programs

    Like

  41. ac January 12, 2017 at 7:34 PM #

    Btw exclaimer your retort is grounded in baseless generalities. Can you cite any carribbean island that has been taken over by foreign investors.
    Last time i check most of the carribbean islands were mostly black and governed by blacks.
    Now if blacks cannot manage their own economies free of corruption then who should be blamed

    Like

  42. Exclaimer January 12, 2017 at 7:35 PM #

    @ AC,

    Which government minister thought it appropriate to give Sandals a fifty year tax break. Firewall my arse!

    Like

  43. Bush Tea January 12, 2017 at 7:49 PM #

    Throwning one hands in the air and throwing in the towel makes the devil a winner.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The Devil has demonstrated that he is already a ‘winner’ by leading the pack of Jackasses that you represent to build him a monument in the middle of the damn garrison…

    Who the hell in their right minds would spend good, scarce money to bury a Devil’s pitch fork in the middle of the Garrison savannah?
    #evilspiritsatwork

    Like

  44. ac January 12, 2017 at 8:07 PM #

    What u must understand that Sandals brand is a product that comes with a cost in return for Sandals to deliver. Now what you must show proff that it would be impossible that in twenty five years sandals cannot deliver that which is financially socially or enviromentally sound or equal to that which can be beneficial to barbados economy in return to what barbados gave Sandals in concession
    The firewall was put in placed in the form of a robust or equal exchange to be delivered by Sandals
    Now if Sandals failed the possibility is there that Sandals run the high risk of exposing their brand to negative publicity at a high price which can undermine consumer confidence in their brand

    Like

  45. Vincent Haynes January 13, 2017 at 4:26 PM #

    Sandals is an interesting case in point as it is owned by a Pelau who identified his niche area of expertise and went after it wholeheartedly throughout the Caribbean.

    Like

  46. bimboy January 13, 2017 at 6:57 PM #

    I very much agree with Gaston Browne´s question to the interviewer;it is most appropriate.

    Part Quote: ¨So what are we supposed to do….sit back and do nothing´
    Etc.,

    My question is:

    Must the Caribbean Countries continue to be Slaves to the Lenders?
    How do we get out of the Debt Trap?

    Will we continue to borrow repeatedly just to service exorbitant interests as well as selling every state owned asset to service huge deficits?

    Madness:Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. ac January 13, 2017 at 7:53 PM #

    Yes. Madness indeed. An econmoy driven by a steel donkey and no one has a clue on how to catch or slow him down
    So who are we to blame those govt who have thrown caution to the wind step up to the plate to find answers rather than sit back and do nothing or rely on failed polices

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Vincent Haynes January 14, 2017 at 8:53 AM #

    WAIT……ah reading right…….

    ac January 13, 2017 at 7:53 PM #
    Yes. Madness indeed. An econmoy driven by a steel donkey and no one has a clue on how to catch or slow him down
    So who are we to blame those govt who have thrown caution to the wind step up to the plate to find answers rather than sit back and do nothing or rely on failed polices

    A govt operative has just launched this scathing attack on its own govt……..

    I suppose with ministers fighting each other and others disowning policies of govt,even operatives can tell it like it is……wuhloss

    Like

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