“I saw it coming” …Gonzalves on CBI Crackdown

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said he had told his regional counterparts that they cannot rely solely on the Citizenship by Investment Program to sustain their economies.Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada are among the countries within the OECS offering CIP’s.Dr. Gonsalves said in an interview Monday that his decision not to implement a CBI program in St Vincent and the Grenadines was further justified by the news that the United Kingdom and European Union are cracking down on countries that sell their passports.“Look, those who didn’t see it, and who wanted to base an economic strategy on that, like the opposition in St Vincent and the Grenadines, they now get their comeuppance. It’s your how mature judgment brought to bear when I say this thing is not sustainable. You can’t base your economic development on this. You can’t finance a budget on these kinds of monies,” he stated.Last week, Dominica and Vanuatu passport holders were removed from the list of visa-free countries after concerns that their CBI programs were being abused.There have also been indications that by the end of 2023, St Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis passport holders would also need a visa if they don’t end their CBI programs.He said Caribbean islands do not have the machinery to conduct proper due diligence.“People are saying you can check to see who these individuals are…This was only a matter of time. You are going to run into trouble…” he saidGonsalves said The EU Commission plans to follow suit by removing those countries from the Schengen Visa waiver program as well.He confirmed that representatives from the CBI Caribbean countries recently met with EU officials in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the matter.

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