The prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris, rolled out the new changes to the citizenship by investment program at a conference attended by service providers on Friday in St Kitts.
Included in the changes is a new online system, the citizen application management system (CAMS), which allows applicants through their service providers to apply and track the process of their applications. St Kitts and Nevis is the first country to use this state of the art technology.
Harris explained that the government’s aim was to ensure that the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship program continued to have the Caribbean’s best and most transparent system.
The prime minister highlighted some of the previous problems and scandals that the program encountered under the former Labour Party administration. He explained that some of the new legislation that will soon be brought to Parliament will negate the possibility of individuals using it for money laundering, and it will also identify undesirable people. Included in the proposed legislation is the holding of escrow account holders liable while protecting the investor. An escrow account is a temporary pass through account held by a third party during the process of a transaction between two parties.
Harris underlined 22 reforms to the program as well as the recalibrated relationship with the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union as examples of the restored confidence and trust in the citizenship program. He also cited new management and staff at the Citizen by Investment Unit (CIU) as further illustrations of the positive changes to the oldest and best citizenship program in the Caribbean area.
The prime minister said, “We are restoring trust and confidence. In the last eight months, there has not been one public embarrassment on the programme because difficulties are addressed through quiet diplomacy. Far from dead, we still have one of the best performing CIUs processing more applications per month than our regional competitors and more importantly providing more revenues than any of the other CIUs. This is an outstanding achievement for the Team Unity Government and the success of our reform efforts to date.”