Posted On: Tuesday, 29 May 2012
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Basseterre, St. Kitts, (Tuesday 29th May, 2012)-Citizens drawn from over 20 countries worldwide have been seeking to qualify for a St. Kitts and Nevis passport and thus dual citizenship, with St. Kitts and Nevis, if one is to be guided by information shared by the federal government in Basseterre.
The Citizenship by Investment program currently being administered by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is continuing to receive much scrutiny from sources within the country and very importantly, also from political leaders in sister Caribbean states.
However, here in St. Kitts, in particular, much focus has been placed on the lack of transparency, with respect to the details of the program. Members of the public have expressed concern that great care is being taken to withhold crucial information about the amount of revenue being derived from the initiative, which some opposition sources have claimed, amount to over one hundred million dollars. Not even a recent question in parliament, raised by the Representative for Constituency Number Eight, Mr. Eugene Hamilton, succeeded in forcing the government to disclose critical financial information about the funds being generated.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Denzil Douglas, while addressing the question posed by Hamilton, was only prepared to indicate that approximately 300 applications are made annually, but he is unaware of how many were approved. It was Douglas’ contention that that information was not available to him and that such question would be better channeled to the special corporation that was established by government to manage the program.
However, while indicating ignorance of the finer financial details of the program, the Prime Minister listed some 22 countries, from which applications have been received.
H further to reveal that EC$60 million in processing fees from the 300 applications annually. He however did not share information on who else benefit financially and to what extent, from the program.
A recent government release confirmed that all applications that are received go through the “rigours of the system established to ensure that only individuals who are worthy of becoming citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis do so.”
While admitting that the program has received applications from all over the world, Douglas also tried to assure parliament that “Our system is a robust and attractive one.”
The countries from which applications have come include the USA, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates especially Dubai, Russia, Jordan, Yemen, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, Egypt, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Ethiopia, Ukraine, France, Kuwait, Vietnam, India, Nigeria, Lebanon.