The Opposition, New Democratic Party (NDP) has steadily made a case for the re-introduction of a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
The NDP has held fast to the opinion that the programme can generate income for SVG.
CBI is a process whereby an individual can make an investment in a country and get citizenship and a passport in exchange.
Founder of the NDP, Sir James Mitchell has lent his voice in support of the party’s position, noting that he had started the programme here in SVG.
“I support the CBI programme. The revenue is there,” Mitchell expressed while speaking on the WakeUpCall recently.
The former Prime Minister shared the cost of the CBI Programme in various countries, noting that “we need the money in our country”.
Dominica & St. Lucia – $100k; Antigua – $130k; Grenada $150k; St. Kitts $150k; Montenegro – $294k; Portugal – $294k; Bulgaria – $588k; Canada -$898k; USA – $900k; Cyprus – $2.5m and UK – $2.6m.
“People want their plan B, especially now with the Covid. A lot of people want to have their second refuge.”
Mitchell further informed that he knows of foreign investors in SVG that are holders of Vincentian passports.
“And don’t say, don’t tell me that people aren’t getting passports. I know that all the foreign investors in this country, in Mustique, Canouan and Bequia have Vincentian passports.”
Sir James explained that the government would decide how the programme would work and to where the funds would go.
“You decide whether the money goes into government, if it becomes government revenue. Or you could invest into projects in the country, or the government could sell bonds.”
“The thing is to bring in the money. Where is the source of revenue going to come from? We need to build schools and hospitals and we need to keep things going,” Mitchell stressed.
He added that “St. Kitts has been able to pay off the IMF” (International Monetary Fund).
Mitchell concluded by sharing the benefit to participants of such programmes.
“The benefit for them basically is the right to be able to travel around the world and to have a choice. In other words, getting a second passport for them, is their plan B… it’s as simple as that.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has maintained the government ‘s position not to introduce the CBI programme, stressing that ‘Citizenship is the highest office in the land, higher than governor general, higher than prime minister, it’s not for sale.”
According to Citizenship Shop, CBI programmes attract a number of high net worth individuals in developing nations, looking to add a second passport in their investment portfolio. A second passport provides a greater mobility along with visa free travel freedom. The CBI passport market has turned into a $5 billion industry annually.