Government mum of political interference charge; Requests from foreign entities not pursued locally

By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 16, 2018 – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is yet to respond to concerns of “political interference” in the processing of applications under the Citizenship by Investment Programme.

The issue was raised by the United States Department of State in its International Narcotics Strategy Report for 2018.

The Report also expressed concern that requests from foreign entities in pursuing money laundering investigations are not being pursued.

“There should be more specific guidelines to provide law enforcement the authority to conduct an investigation based on a foreign request for assistance,” said the Report.

A person with information has indicated “there have been specific instructions from a high government official not to pursue requests for information from certain foreign jurisdictions.”

The International Narcotics Strategy Report called for “specific guidelines in pursuing money laundering investigations and in the identification of possible proceeds of crime.”

The Report also noted that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis established the Citizenship Processing Unit (CPU) to manage the screening and application process.

“The CPU does not maintain adequate autonomy from politicians to prevent political interference in its decisions,” said the Report.

The Report called on the Timothy Harris-led Government in Basseterre to focus on deficiencies in transparency and accountability.

“St. Kitts and Nevis must work toward transparency and accountability in financial regulation. Specifically, it must precisely determine the exact number of internet gaming companies present on the islands and conduct the necessary oversight of these entities,” said the Report.

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