The management of the St.Kitts-Nevis Citizenship By Investment Programme under the Dr. Denzil Douglas led Adminmistration has once again come under heavy and scathing criticism this time by the British.
UK Officials who recently visited the newly elected Prime Minister of St.Kitts-Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris indicated to the local media that The way the St. Kitts-Nevis Citizenship By Investment program was being run posed a security threat to the UK.
The British Official , Victoria Dean who is the British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, was in St. Kitts-Nevis over the last week.
In an April 7 interview with The Observer Newspaper, the UK Diplomat expressed her government’s “serious security concerns” with the controversial CBI program.
She told the Observer News that while they understand and respect why people have them and the benefits they bring to countries the UK’s concern is about the due diligence and the processing of applicants.
“If you look at the scheme that has until now been run out of here, I have a number of worries like who’s applying, what kind of checks the authorities here really carry out on those individuals before making a decision, and there have been some oddities,” Dean said.
Of particular concern was the fact that for some time passport holders’ country of origin was removed from the St. Kitts-Nevis passports. Commissioner Dean said while that has been corrected, it is still worrisome that those passports without the vital information are still out there in individuals’ possession.
There are still some elements of the program that concern the UK official, including the lack of a residency requirement of any kind, “or indeed a need [for applicants] to set foot in St. Kitts and Nevis at all.”
“I think we need to be very clear what applicants are buying in to. They are not applicants who have discovered a great passion for St. Kitts and Nevis, I don’t think. I would like that as part of becoming a passport holder they would come to love St. Kitts and Nevis, but it’s not really what’s on offer.”
The British High Commissioner also made reference to the Canadian government slapping a visa requirement on the Federation in November 2014 citing security concerns over the SKN CBI passport holders. She said that government’s concern was that people were buying visa-free access to Canada.
“I know one of the things the applicants are buying into is visa-free access to Great Britain and so obviously that’s a concern for us.”
The big question is whether or not the UK also puts a visa regime in place for St. Kitts and Nevis nationals.
“I would like to give this government the benefit of the doubt because I think what we all want is not to need to have a visa regime,” said the High Commissioner.
“I said to the government, you need a visa for the US, you now need one for Canada; my ministry in London looks at me and says ‘High Commissioner why is it you do not want to follow in their footsteps? What is it that you see that provides you reassurance that the Canadians and the US don’t see?’. So what I say to the government here is that you need to make it easier for me to answer that question.”
The New Team UNITY Government is currently pursuing vigorous and comprehensive improvements to the programme to ensure that it meets and exceeds all International standards. This assurance has been given by both the Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Brantley.
Both have been in constant discussions with US and Canadian authorities with regards to the enhancement and improvement of the programme.
Based on the High Commissioner’s comments it is safe to assume that had there not been a change of regime and the same management practicies continued Great Britain then subsequently the EU would’ve slapped similar visa restrictions to St.Kitts-Nevis Nationals as was done by the Canadians.