BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, May 18th 2017 – Opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party chairperson, Hon. Marcella Liburd has slammed the bombshell announcement by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris that his Team Unity Government plans to phase out the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
In a national broadcast on May 9th, Prime Minister Harris referred to the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme as “the platinum standard of the global industry.”
But at a news conference on May 10th, less than 24 hours after his national broadcast, Prime Minister Harris stunned stakeholders when he told journalists “the time will come in the not too distant future where we can as a people reach that level of development that we can easily exit from this programme.”
Responding to the position by PM Harris, Ms. Liburd told listeners to Wednesday’s “Issues” programme on Freedom 106.5 FM and Kyss 102.5 FM: “Something is not adding up here.”
The Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher 2 (Central Basseterre) noted that millions of dollars have been spent promoting the CBI in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Miami, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and London, employing high profile Washington, DC lobbyist Lanny Davis and hiring former Senior Director, Program Management at IPSA International, Les Khan as the new Chief Executive Officer of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU).
She further noted Dr. Harris’ statement on the CBI in the 2017 Budget Address in December 2016 in which he stated that the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme continues to serve as a major catalyst for stimulating growth in the economy and that there is still good scope for the CBI Programme to continue to yield substantial benefits to the economy and people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Five months after the Budget, we are now hearing, in (Donald) Trump-like fashion that the CBI programme is to be phased out. Is this another deception on the part of the prime minister,” asked Liburd, who said stakeholders were shocked by the statement.
“There has been no consultation with the people. No consultation with the stakeholders and even no consolation with his cabinet colleagues. This was not a manifesto promise or a campaign promise,” said Liburd, who accused Dr. Harris of “having no plan, no programme to replace the CBI:
She said the comment from Prime Minister Harris, who has responsibility for the CBI, will drive away potential investors.
“The investors will look elsewhere. There is uncertainty, there is instability,” said Ms. Liburd, who further indicated that the statement will also create much concern for the developers of existing projects and those still under construction.
CBI projects constructed under the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party administration of former prime minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, include Christophe Harbour, Christophe Harbour Marina, Koi Sales Office, Silver Reef Resort and Residences, Kittitian Hill and Imperial Bay Golf & Beach Residences. Other projects still under construction are St. Kitts Castle, Koi Residences, Rendezvous Residences, Golden Rock Commercial Park, Park Hyatt St. Kitts, Montebello, T-Loft (Radisson) and Helden’s (Ramada).
Accusing Prime Minister Harris of gross incompetence, Ms. Liburd said that after over two years in office, the Team Unity Government has not attracted one foreign direct investment to St. Kitts and Nevis.
“He does not know how to do so. Dr. Harris has no alternative for stimulating the economy. He has no vision. He has no foresight and all the construction projects initiated by the past Labour Government are fast coming to an end,” she said.