BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 16TH 2014 (CUOPM) – A service provider in the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme has welcomed changes made over the last few weeks and is of the view that continuous review is necessary.
Local businessman Scott Caines said the Citizenship by Investment Programme is not without its challenges and taking into consideration the heavy dependence on this revenue stream, attention must be paid for its constant improvement.
“As a programme which has the ability to attract a wide range of investors, care has to be taken to ensure that the nuts and bolts are tightened on the programme requirements,” Mr. Caines told persons attending the first in a series Conversations for Progress meetings being conducted by the Government to mark its 19th anniversary in office.
“Improved due diligence procedures will help to reduce the chances of undesirables having access to the programme. This would require strong procedural changes and continued compliance with international regulations and guidelines,” said Mr. Caines, who added that as a Service Provider “we have seen several changes from the Citizenship by Investment Unit, which I know will aid in improving the programme and we hope that that will increase the turnaround time because if we have a quicker turnaround time in the programme, we will have more investment flows in the country in a shorter span of time.”
“We must also not relax our standards in light of the fact that there are emerging destinations from which competition is coming. We think here of nearby Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica in our own back yard, as well as other OECS islands which are contemplating similar programmes,” said Mr. Caines, who further pointed out that competition also extend beyond the shores of the Caribbean and includes several countries in Europe, like Cyprus, Austria and Malta.
“Let us not fool ourselves that the success of our programme which has become a world model would not attract detractors. We are a small country who has the audacity to lead in this global business. All the more reasons why every effort should be made to review and comply with the changes that have been highlighted to ensure the robustness of the programme,” Mr. Caines said.
As an Authorised Service Provider, he offered some suggestions for the improvement in the communication with the Citizenship by Investment Unit.
“We had a meeting with them sometime a few weeks ago and it was agreed that we would have follow up and regular meetings so that the communication can improve a bit and we would be able to be in a position to better notify our clients, so that our mutual expectations could be met. I think sometimes it is when you do good and you can’t do any more good because of constraints that you bring pressure to be on yourselves and I think that is one of the challenges that the Citizenship by Investment Unit is facing now where it appears to us by the number of people that we see visiting the office, that the number of applications would have increased,” said Mr. Caines, who is also Managing Director of C & C Trading.