World: Clashes have been observed in US Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, and some Caribbean nations after the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda have expressed his resentment on Human Right Report 2020, an annual survey of human rights practices.
The Prime Minister stated this report lacks the proper information regarding a significant issue based on the nation’s lack of independent media and called US Diplomats stationed in Barbados as they are not doing good enough to foster relations between the Caribbean and US.
What reasons triggered PM Browne to speak out?
Human Rights Report 2020, not only included Antigua and Barbuda but also mentioned other Caribbean nations for their Citizenship by Investment Programmes and accused these programmes of ‘lack of transparency’.
‘Lack of Transparency’ accusation was based on the local media houses’ information and opposition political parties in the respective nation.
Illustrating the opposition’s references in Dominica and some unidentified local media in the nation, the report implied a lack of transparency in the Citizenship by Investment Programme of Dominica, which is uncertain.
US Report on Human Rights statement:
Local media and opposition leaders extended to raise accusations of corruption within the administration, including in the Citizenship by Investment programme.
Other organisations have to say differently about CBI:
While US Report on Human Rights alleges CBI as transparency deficient other organisations have another story for the Citizenship by Investment programme.
Other repuated organisations comprising Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), CBI Index, Professional Wealth Magazine (PWM), Financial Times, Smith and Williamson, Ernst & Young, and even UK Queen’s Counsel had acclaimed the CBI Programme of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, especially for its transparency.
Additionally, EY Report affirms that Properly designed CBI programmes should not dig the tax regime, disturb existing notions of tax residency or establish at-risk tax revenues either within their dominion or that of others.
It said that “citizenship is a theory distinct from tax residency. Citizenship should not give rise to tax avoidance and fraud possibilities, as the reporting rules are understandable in not using citizenship as a test.”
Furthermore, Smith and Williamson stated, CBI does not offer a risk to expediting tax evasion, as citizenship individual is insufficient to secure tax residency of a nation.
Moreover, PwC, a multinational services firm, reached both nations to provide comprehensive information on economic citizenship and its aspects. It declares that “CBIP provides Dominica with flexible buffer to respond to the costs of natural disasters in the short-term.”
Citizenship by Investment is a nine pillar method which includes- Mandatory Travel or Residence, Citizenship Timeline, Ease of Process, Due Diligence, Freedom of Movement, Standard of Living, Minimum Investment Outlay, Family and Certainty of Product.
Even CBI Index also stated that Dominica’s CBI Programme is known for being one of the world’s most influential and transparent economic citizenship options.
How Opposition moulded the misinformation?
Former Journalist and Opposition party leader Lennox Linton share close relationships with Dominica’s local media, and anyhow the report did not consider the parameter.
However, he has the power to mould information and circulate the misconduct from its influential approach.
Is PM Browne right?
The information mentioned above is evidence that the allegation on the Citizenship by Investment programme of being transparent deficient was not accurate by Dominica’s opposition.
Local media regulated by the UWP leader Lennox Linton should not be the basis of the global survey.
There is no lack of transparency in CBI; if something is lacking, then it is a lack of thorough research of the Human Rights Report, US State Department.
Instead of giving recognition to international media, US Diplomats made a report on only one locally-based media firm.
Diplomats are the people who are accountable for their actions, and they must do proper research to diffuse information. PM Browne is right in his position, and his agitation is logical.