PRESS RELEASE – REPRESENTATIVES from the region’s five countries offering Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIPs) met in Saint Lucia last Friday to explore opportunities for increased collaboration and harmonisation of due diligence processes.
The meeting, convened at the behest of Heads of Government of OECS Member States with CIP programmes, provided a platform to discuss further harmonisation of CIPs across the region and consider ways in which strategic collaboration could enhance the quality and efficiency of the Citizenship by Investment service.
Among other agenda items, the establishment of an equal standard for vetting of candidates and the implementation of an information sharing mechanism were outlined as areas for deeper cooperation.
Prime Minister of St. Lucia and incoming Chairman of the OECS Authority, Allen Chastanet, said that a shared intelligence system would streamline the due diligence process in each Member State.
“If an applicant applies in St. Lucia and is rejected, mechanisms must be in place to ensure that this person does not surface elsewhere in the region as a citizen through another CIP,” Chastanet said.
The meeting also reviewed and proposed amendments to a Policy & Procedures Manual prepared by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS). This feedback is to be forwarded to the CIP Standing Working Committee established by CARICOM.
In his remarks to the Meeting, Director General of the OECS, Dr.Didacus Jules, noted that many of the leading Western economies had some variant of the Citizenship by Investment Programme but still exerted pressure on poorer, more vulnerable countries doing the same.
“When the weak and vulnerable are able to successfully engage on playing fields like these, every effort is made by the strong and powerful to change the rules of the game.
“Our only chance of winning is to make the integrity of these programmes unassailable,” he asserted.
The maintenance of international credibility and integrity for the region’s Citizenship by Investment Programmes was outlined as a priority.