Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 20, 2015 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, on Monday, October 19, addressed the Global Citizenship Conference one day seminar in Miami on the topic “Citizenship-by-Investment in St. Kitts and Nevis—Past, Present and Future”.
During his address, Prime Minister Harris spoke about the challenges and opportunities of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme, while focusing on what promises to be a bright future for the programme in light of reform undertaken by his Team Unity Government since assuming office in the February 2015 general elections.
“We have moved to restructure, reorganize and re-energize the St. Kitts and Nevis CBI Unit,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Prime Minister Harris informed attendees that St. Kitts and Nevis can boast of having one of the best performing economies.
“IMF conservative projections put us at a growth rate of 5 percent, more than 10 times the projected growth rate for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Latin America and the Caribbean growth is now projected to trend below 0.5 percent,” he said.
Explaining the importance of the Citizenship by Investment Programme to the nation’s economy, Prime Minister Harris revealed that the programme contributes nearly 35 percent of the revenue of St. Kitts and Nevis which has assisted in the diversification of the economy.
He indicated, “It has received the endorsement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as a constructive vehicle for continued economic growth. Growth in 2013 and 2014 averaged about 6 percent. The CBI program is allowing us to advance our economic development at a time when we have graduated from concessional financing.”
Prime Minister Harris continued by stating, “The CBI program is helping us to finance our infrastructure development and provide hotel beds. We are using resources to spur entrepreneurship and enterprise among our people.”
The Federation’s Prime Minister explained that his Team Unity Administration recognized that although the St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme is the oldest of its kind in existence, his Team Unity Administration is cognizant that there are flaws within the programme.
“It is useless to pretend that everything has always been rosy with the CBI programme,” he declared. “When our Team Unity Government took office, we recognized that mistakes had been made by the former regime. The programme had been abused to a point that was willful, almost dishonest.”
Prime Minister Harris assured that just as the people of the Federation has voted for change, his administration will continue to change the programme with the aim of ensuring its continued success.
“Run properly, the St. Kitts & Nevis programme is an excellent product, in fact it is the market leader. It is an enormously invaluable vehicle for promoting national development and economic resilience. It is a tremendous resource, but like all resources it needs to be managed carefully, with prudence, integrity and diligence. That is what the people of St. Kitts and Nevis voted for Team Unity to do.”
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