BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 10TH 2006 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis’ has revamped its Citizenship Investment Programme to reflect its focus on the promotion of investment rather than citizenship.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas during a Press Conference on Tuesday announced a series of measures aimed at strengthening the already tight regulatory mechanisms currently in place in respect of its Citizenship by Investment Programme.“The minimum investment in real estate that would make a person eligible to apply for citizenship has been increased to US$350,000 from the current minimum of US$250,000. The current option, whereby the purchase of Government bonds makes a person eligible to apply for citizenship, has been terminated,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that the application forms have been updated and revised to ensure that they are comprehensive and consistent with international standards and that it contains all information relevant to the determination of the suitability of the applicants for citizenship.
He said that all applicants are required to make a declaration and provide evidence regarding the source of funds from which the investment is made. “Any false or untrue statement in this declaration or in any other declaration in relation to non-involvement in criminal activities or in the application form or in other documents submitted with the application form would result in the revocation of citizenship as soon as such false or untrue statement is discovered,” said Prime Ministr Douglas.
He said that each applicant is required to submit a new standard medical form which must be completed by a medical doctor based on medical tests and examination of the applicant for citizenship.
The Ministry of Finance will exercise control over the promotion of the citizenship by investment programme by requiring all real estate developers or lawyers to submit for approval any of their promotional or informational material (printed or on electronic media including web pages) that makes reference to the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship By Investment Programme.
Appropriate legislation will be passed to ensure that unauthorized publication of any material regarding the Citizenship by Investment is prohibited by Law, and that any such unauthorized publication may lead to fines or imprisonment or both.
Prime Minister Douglas said that a new secure Citizenship by Investment Certificate will be introduced to minimize the risk of illegal duplication and falsification.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme been in place for more than two decades and has distinguished itself from many other similar programmes by rigidly enforced investment requirements and meticulous due diligence procedures that seek to ensure that only persons of good character are attracted to the Federation through this programme.
Dr. Douglas said that in keeping with the dynamic nature of the global environment faced by the Federation, the Government continues to keep the programme under review and to continuously upgrade its operations with a view to strengthening the already solid reputation of the programme and to ensuring that the programme remains relevant to potential investors and contributors to the development of the Federation.
“The Ministry of Finance, which plays a key role in investment promotion, has been newly assigned responsibility for the programme. In discharging this mandate the Ministry of Finance has established a dedicated Citizenship Processing Unit under the leadership of the Legal Adviser, Dr. Ken Ballentyne, to manage the entire process,” said Prime Minister Douglas, whop added that this arrangement will not only improve the efficiency of the process, but will also further strengthen the screening procedures and ensure strict compliance with the relevant laws, regulations and policies.
“The activities of the Unit, which is expected to complement the other investment promotion activities of the Government, will give priority to the investment component of the programme and will ensure that the grant of citizenship under this programme would only be incidental to the investment component of the programme,” said Prime Minister Douglas.