St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); Against the backdrop of Antigua and Barbuda losing its visa-free travel to Canada last week, and an EU official for the Schengen area expressing concerns about the integrity of the region’s due diligence process for its Citizenship By Investment programs, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis does not feel any of its existing visa waiver arrangements are at risk.
St. Kitts and Nevis had its visa-free travel to Canada revoked in November 2014, following its own CBI passport scandals.
According to the government’s Citizenship By Investment Unit’s (CIU) website, the St. Kitts and Nevis passport allows visa-free access to 155 countries, including European countries and the United Kingdom.
Speaking with WINN FM Foreign Minister Mark Brantley said as a responsible member of the international community St Kitts and Nevis has over the last two years undertaken a “top to bottom review” of its CBI program with greater emphasis on due diligence, and the security and integrity of the program.
He said recommendations from global specialist IPSA have been robustly implemented, where applicants are subjected to multiple layers of due diligence undertaken by international security firms and agencies of international governments.
Brantley expressed confidence that “the St Kitts-Nevis program is now one of the most secure in the world”.
He gave assurance that the government will “continue to respond positively to security challenges and assure our international partners that in St Kitts and Nevis they have a reliable and responsible friend”.
Since losing visa-free travel to Canada, the two-year old Unity administration has sought to engage the Canadian government with the hopes of having it restored.
WINN FM asked Mr Brantley just how realistic is the government’s expectation that Canada will reinstate the visa-waiver for St. Kitts-Nevis in the foreseeable future.
He said, “We remain optimistic that our visa free access to Canada will be restored. Having recently created history by opening our High Commission in Ottawa we now have a platform for much deeper engagement with one of our closest allies. We shall continue to engage with our Canadian friends on a wide range of issues of mutual interest. Our bonds of friendship remain rock solid and we have corrected in whole the stated concerns of the Canadian government. We are therefore optimistic about future relations between the Federation and Canada including amelioration in the visa regime which currently hinders the deep people to people contact which has always been the hallmark of our friendship.”