Action being taken to protect economic citizenship programme, says St Kitts-Nevis PM
BASSETERRE, St Kitts - Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas has promised that specific action will soon be taken to protect the billion-dollar St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme.
“There are specific things that we have to do to insulate our programme from being misused and abused in the way that the [US Treasury Department] advisory has indicated,” Douglas said on last week’s edition of his Ask the PM radio programme.
“The government continues to say that it is willing to work with any entity, any government to ensure that our programme continues to maintain its highest standards, continues to lead globally as the citizenship by investment programme that has been so successful and which has attracted so much support to the point where other countries have patterned it around the world. We will continue to work with the authorities to ensure that any issue with our particular programme is corrected,” Douglas said.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) of the US Treasury Department recently issued an alert that certain foreign individuals were abusing the St Kitts and Nevis Citizen by investment programme for the purpose of engaging in illicit financial activities.
FINCEN accused the government of running a programme with lax controls that accommodated illicit actors. It said by way of example that, while the government had announced in 2013 that it would suspend applications from Iranian nationals, those Iranian nationals were in fact still being issued passports; an allegation refuted by the prime minister.
“The passport that was referenced in the advisory was a passport issued to a citizen who had obtained citizenship since 2012 that is before the… St Kitts and Nevis advisory of July of 2013 of not processing Iranians into our programme any longer,” he said.
“Also there was reference to some persons who were on a particular list that is published by the United States government. That list when those persons had obtained a citizenship they were never anywhere on the appropriate list. In fact, their due diligence report again was clean. They only got onto the list after they had become citizens of St Kitts and Nevis,” the prime minister asserted.
By Clive Bacchus