CARIBBEAN: Four Caribbean CBI nations reach historic agreement for enhanced integrity

As published on: gulfnews.com, Monday 25 March, 2024. 

In a historic move, four out of the five OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) jurisdictions offering Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CBIPs) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), marking a pivotal shift towards stricter regulations and collaborative efforts within the industry.

The virtual signing ceremony on Wednesday brought together Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St Kitts and Nevis, committing them to several key provisions aimed at enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of their CBIPs. One significant provision involves raising the minimum investment threshold to USD 200,000, with a deadline set no later than June 30, 2024. Notably, Saint Lucia is currently not part of this MOU.

This move follows concerns raised by international entities regarding the 'underselling' of such programmes, urging all CBI jurisdictions to overhaul their CBIPs.

The newly signed MOU by the four OECS countries includes commitments such as sharing information on CBIP applicants to improve transparency and oversight, implementing enhanced transparency measures like disclosing funds received by CBIPs and conducting independent audits, and establishing a regional competent authority to regulate the programmes and set international standards.

Moreover, it addresses marketing and promotion practices, with agreed-upon standards to prevent any disrespectful marketing of the programmes. The islands underscore that participation in these programmes entails a commitment to citizenship in the country, not just engaging in a passport scheme.

Additionally, intelligence sharing involves exchanging information about CBIP citizens, facilitating cooperation between the four nations and their international partners in retrieving cancelled passports.

The MOU also emphasizes a unified training approach to enhance skills across the participating countries.

Dr Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis and chairman of OECS, welcomed the decision, noting that it enables countries to share best practices, due diligence processes, and intelligence. He stressed that the MOU provides a framework for cooperation and information sharing among the four OECS Member States concerning their Citizenship by Investment Programmes.

"The four Small Island Developing States who signed this Memorandum have committed to increasing and harmonizing the minimum investment threshold of their CBIPs to an investment sum of at least US$200,000 no later than June 30, 2024, and more importantly, to put an end to 'underselling,' a scourge on the CBI Industry in the recent past," he emphasized.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica also expressed satisfaction with the MOU, stating that it positions member countries strongly in response to past concerns. He highlighted that the agreement ensures uniformity in application forms and due diligence processes among the participating nations.

The agreement builds upon the six principles agreed upon by the CBIP operating OECS Member States during a roundtable discussion with the United States of America in 2023.


Caribbean CBI Antigua Barbuda Dominica Grenada St Kitts and Nevis

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