BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 11, 2017 (Press Unit in the office of the Prime Minister) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris says his Team Unity Government will not sacrifice the security and reputation of the country’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI) for the sake of profitability.
The recent steps taken to strengthen the program’s due diligence process are indicative of that fact.
Speaking at his monthly press conference on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at Government Headquarters, Prime Minister Harris pointed to the hiring of IPSA International, a regulatory risk mitigation company, to do a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s citizenship program “and that led to improvement in the control, it led to new management of the CBI program where we brought in persons with the relevant skill-sets in insurance, in financial banking…in anti-money laundering to be part of the management network at our CIU (Citizenship by Investment Unit).”
Dr. Harris noted that his Government will not let “ill-gotten gains be the determinant in terms of our policy prescription,” as St. Kitts and Nevis will never be a haven for criminals.
In echoing similar sentiments shared by Prime Minister Harris, Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Mr. Les Khan said the integrity of the country’s citizenship program must never be compromised.
Speaking with the Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, May 11th 2017, Mr. Khan stated that, “Due diligence and vetting of all clients is of the utmost importance and in some cases we are considered the toughest in vetting of applications throughout the region. The reason is that the integrity of our program is of the utmost importance and we believe that we should only have individuals of the highest caliber and character and this takes precedence over volume.”
The measures implemented under the Team Unity administration to strengthen the program have been welcomed by several international agencies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Dr. Harris further stated that, “We have been collaborating with the U.S. [and] with all international players who have an interest. We have invited them in…they have looked at our system, and recently when the IMF came they spent a lot of time on our (CIU) unit…and they came out welcoming the reforms that we had implemented at the CBI program.”
Premier of Nevis and Senior Minister in the Federal Cabinet, the Honourable Vance Amory also weighed in on the matter of strengthening the program’s due diligence process.
Supporting the Prime Minister at his monthly press conference, Premier Amory stressed that the financial institutions that receive CBI funds add another layer of security for the program, as these institutions carry out their own due diligence procedures.
Premier Amory said that strong security measures strengthen the hand of the jurisdiction of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Senior Minister added that such strong measures protect the Citizenship by Investment Program and also ensure the integrity and stability of the financial services sector in the international marketplace.
“The banks require as well a declaration of the source of funds…to make sure that they do not find themselves being used for the transfer of illegal funds in any activity which could be classified as money laundering,” Premier Amory stated, noting that all of these measures “give us that type of quality program of which I think the Government can be proud.”