PM Drew chairs first meeting of regional leaders of CBI nations following St. Lucia’s decision to sign CBI MoA

On Wednesday this week, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew chaired a meeting of the leaders of the Caribbean nations which offer a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme. 

While the outcome of the meeting has not yet been disclosed, it was expected that the leaders would discuss matters related to further stabilising their programmes now consensus has been reached about harmonising the requirements for the management, processing standards, rates and other features of the programmes.

Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia have all faced some fallout from lowering CBI rates, particularly following natural disasters and during the COVID-19 pandemic, when tourism reliant economies were put in an economic chokehold.

In some instances, families of up to four were able to acquire citizenship for as little as US$150,000.00, or $$37,500.00 per applicant, plus fees, as governments sought to make their programmes more attractive with better rates.

Many observers described this regional “race to the bottom” between CBI nations as a grave error which was steadily devaluing what should have been handled as an elite class economic programme.

“Yesterday, I chaired a meeting in Dominica where all leaders of countries in the region with CBI programmes were in attendance. We have finally decided to harmonise our CBI programmes,” said Dr. Drew on Thursday. 

“As I have said before, inheriting the CBI programme from a corrupt Team Unity government was the most challenging issue I have had to deal with, but light is at the end of the tunnel with our policies of good governance,” he continued, referencing recent reforms to St. Kitts and Nevis’ CBI and the RICO lawsuit now pending in a Florida federal court.

On 3rd June, 2024, St. Lucia – the last hold out- announced that it would sign on to the  Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIPs) joining Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Dominica. 

The MoA came into existence on 20th March, 2024. 

Under the agreement, the minimum financial contribution for the CBI programme in all of these countries will increase to US$200,000.00. This comes into effect on 30th June, 2024.

Under the MoA, the participating countries will:

  • share information on CBI applicants;
  • implement enhanced transparency measures such as the disclosure of funds received by CBIs, the use of the proceeds of CBIs, and conduct independent financial and operational audits to assess CBI’s compliance with best practice standards;
  • assign, or establish, a regional competent authority to set standards in accordance with international requirements and best practices and to regulate the CBIs;
  • establish common standards to manage the communications and promotion of the CBIs;
  • establish common standards for the regulation of agents operating in the CBIs, and
  • facilitate joint training programmes and capacity building initiatives for officials and agencies involved in the administration of CBIs.

By elevating their standards, the participating nations will enhance the integrity and sustainability of their CBI programmes. It will further protect the long term viability of their passports and enhance the region’s reputation as a leader in structured and secure investment migration practices.

Following the announcement that St. Lucia would sign on to the MoA, the country’s Prime Minister Pierre said, “The Government of Saint Lucia remains committed to maintaining and reinforcing the integrity of its CIP programme with a transparent and accountable process that delivers tangible benefits to all St. Lucians.”

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