Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 22, 2015 (SKNIS): The Government of National Unity has begun the necessary reformation of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program which will ensure its long term sustainability, stated Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris at the National Consultation on the Economy on October 22.

The prime minister said that a fresh start will be given to the programme which has faced challenges over time.

“We would want to continue the dialogue that we have begun with the service providers, developers and agents, on the improvements that we are making to the programme,” stated the prime minister, while revealing that last Friday the citizen case management system was introduced.

“We will now be offering 24/7 service,” explained Prime Minister Harris. “We enhanced our staff and brought a judicious mix of skill sets – international banking, finance, marketing, immigration, anti-money laundering to this Unit. Improvements that have produced results in better relations with the service providers, better relations with applicants and better relations with the international community.”

The prime minister noted that the programme should not have a negative connotation as it had in 2014.

“Our programme must not be seen as one that encourages money laundering and our programme must not be seen as one that encourages tax evasion,” he stated. “Our international partners must be able to rely on us not to jeopardize their security interests as well as ours. We are committed to be a responsible member of the global community. This is a fresh start that will bear dividends for all.”

As a result of the CBI programme, a number of the new hotels will be coming on stream. Prime Minister Harris stated that the programme is anticipated to continue to contribute to the economic performance of the Federation with projects such as these. However, with regards to the changing competitive landscape, the Federation has to ensure that it is not overly reliant on the programme for the future growth and development of the nation.

“We do not wish to revert to a situation where the country is reliant on a single industry to propel economic activity,” said the prime minister. “The drivers of our economy must be diversified and sustainable. We intend to have a fresh start in this area and again we are open to your ideas in this respect.

Prime Minister Harris stated that his government is confident that the programme will remain in number one position in the region and the world.

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