Transformative potential of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes were discussed as European Union Commission representatives engaged in collaborative discussions with OECS nations. As stakeholders convened to explore the intricacies of these CBI programmes, a distinct synergy emerged, offering a glimpse into the profound impact and promising economic opportunities.
Representatives from the European Union Commission (EU), including the Head of Visa Policy, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) met from 24 to 26 January 2024 to discuss CBI programmes.
Discussions took place in Dominica at the Intercontinental Dominica Cabrits Resort, involving heads of Caribbean CBI units and senior government officials.
The goal was to engage in productive discussions with technical teams to understand how these countries manage risks associated with CBI programmes.
EU officials recognised the positive impact of Caribbean CBI programmes on economic development and infrastructure projects, acknowledging their significance for participating islands and citizens.
EU officials were impressed by the safeguards implemented by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia.
This follows technical assessments that revealed a commitment to high standards and thorough due diligence.
While facing enhanced scrutiny from international partners, Caribbean nations see this as an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the integrity of their CBI programmes.
Upholding Integrity in the Caribbean CBI Programmes
The meetings shed light on the cooperative information-sharing regimes among Caribbean CBI programmes, enhancing due diligence checks across countries.
The head of Dominica’s CBI Unit, Marie-Therese Johnson, emphasised the significance of stringent due diligence in ensuring that only qualified individuals are granted citizenship, contributing to the initiative’s credibility.
Dominica was the first CBI nation to implement mandatory interviews for all applicants 16 years and over, following the round table talk with international partners in 2023.
The Head of St Kitts and Nevis CBI Unit, Mr Michael Martin, continues to ensure that St Kitts and Nevis CBI due diligence aligns with international standards.
Mr Martin prioritises credible investors aligned with the country’s vision of becoming a sustainable island state and protecting its environment and citizens’ well-being.
New investment options aim to develop sustainable infrastructure and enhance citizens’ quality of life, maintaining St Kitts and Nevis’ position as a regional leader in the investment migration industry.
These enhancements align with international standards to ensure the integrity of their CBI programmes and the credibility of citizenship grants.
The EU acknowledged the rigorous scrutiny provided to CBI applicants by Caribbean programmes, highlighting the importance of taking security issues seriously to maintain program integrity.
Caribbean CBI programmes attract international investors and promote economic development and sustainability.
These Caribbean nations offer unique ecotourism experiences through foreign direct investments, contributing to the region’s long-term goals.
Cooperative Efforts for Transformation
Collaboration between the EU and Caribbean CBI jurisdictions presents opportunities for refining and strengthening programmes.
All Caribbean countries expressed a willingness to improve the CBI industry, recognising its positive impact on economic development.
Officials highlighted a shared commitment to improving policies and practices to ensure sustained benefits for the Caribbean islands and their residents.
Each Caribbean nation had dedicated sessions with the EU to discuss their individual CBI programmes, emphasising collaborative engagement and ongoing dialogue.
This focuses on shared expertise, best practices, and adherence to international standards to promote transparency and integrity.
The EU’s commitment to ongoing dialogue and collaboration signals potential for shared success and development.
Setting a precedent for a more robust and transparent global approach to CBI programmes.