Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis to revoke citizenships obtained at lower prices. PC: Google Image

Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis to revoke citizenships obtained at lower prices

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Two out of five Caribbean nations, Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, have recently announced stringent measures against applicants who have obtained citizenship at reduced costs.

The Prime Ministers of both countries, Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica and Dr. Terrance Drew of St. Kitts and Nevis, have declared that their governments will be taking statutory steps to revoke the citizenships of those found to have secured their status through illicit means, including paying less than the mandated investment the real estate option of the citizenship by investment programme.

This decision underscores a growing concern about the misuse of these investment programmes, which are crucial for the economic development of the small island nations.

The new measures aim to reinforce the legitimacy of the CBI routes, which have been attracting foreign capital but have also faced criticism over security and transparency.

By targeting individuals who have undermined the system by financial shortcuts, both governments are sending a clear message about their commitment to upholding the law and ensuring that the benefits of such programmes contribute positively to the countries’ futures.

In a further bid to tighten control and increase transparency within the CBI programmes, the governments of Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis have laid down a new financial directive.

Moving forward, any investments made through developers as part of the citizenship application process must be transacted through local bank accounts established in the respective countries.

This requirement compels one or two developers, who often channel funds through international banks in locations like Dubai, China, and Singapore, to redirect their financial operations back to the domestic banks.

Such changes are set to pose significant challenges for some developers who previously maneuvered their capital through international financial networks beyond the reach of government oversight.

This move is designed to enable both governments to monitor over the financial flows of the citizenship by investment programmes, ensuring that all funds contribute directly to the local economy.

Additionally, it facilitates more rigorous monitoring of transactional activities, making it harder for any under-the-table dealings to go undetected. By mandating that all investment-related funds stay within the national banking systems, the authorities aim to prevent discrepancies in pricing and guarantee that every citizenship issued aligns with the official pricing policies.

As Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis take decisive steps to reform their CBI programmes, it is anticipated that the remaining Caribbean nations with similar economic citizenship programme—Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and St. Lucia—will follow suit.

These countries are expected to implement similar regulations requiring all investment transactions to be conducted through local banking channels. Such a coordinated approach across the region would significantly strengthen the overall framework of the CBI programs, effectively minimizing the risks of financial undercutting and ensuring a uniform standard of economic contribution and transparency.

Following the formation of new Labour government in St. Kitts and Nevis 2022, Prime Minister Dr Terrance Drew had initiated complete overhaul of the CBI programme with replacement of CIU head and increment in minimum investment threshold to US $250,000.

However, 3 other countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Grenada have signed an MoU to unify the programme regionwide. St. Lucia which initially refrained from signing the MoU has now agreed to become part of the pact, but so far Mc Claude Emmanuel – Head of CIU St. Lucia has not announced when the government would sign the document.