Amidst concerns by the European Union about the sale of ‘golden passports’, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is staying the course on the subject matter which is a dividing line between the two major political parties contesting the general elections here.
Opposition Leader Dr Hon Godwin Friday told the nation last week that the party sees the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program as key to creating greater opportunities for Vincentians.
“An NDP government will also use development finance and donated funds, strategically to mobilize private capital so that we can help businesses grow and create market opportunities.”
“St Vincent and the Grenadines needs an effective citizenship by investment program with proper checks and balances. This means guaranteed levels of investment with no strings attached and no debt. It means more jobs and a higher standard of living.”
While one OECS country, namely St Lucia, admitted this week that the country does not have the necessary resources to effectively manage the fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic, the NDP maintains that the OECS countries are the best examples of success with the program.
“Our OECS neighbors who have such programs have benefited from substantial projects and inflows of funds to boost their economic growth. Saint Kitts and Nevis has the original citizenship by investment program and funds are used for projects such as building of schools, developing infrastructure and roads and cruise ship terminals.”
“In Grenada, applicants invest in a national transformation fund, paying down government debt and freeing up interest money for everyday services. In Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, funds are used for public and private sector projects.”
Dr Friday appealed to the electorate to give his party a chance to increase the fortunes of all Vincentians.
The incumbent Unity Labour Party is opposed to the CBI program saying that Vincentians passports and patrimony are not for sale.
The Financial Times reported today that the European commission is anxious about the corruption and security risks created by the right of any holder of EU country nationality to move freely around the bloc’s 27 member states.
The Commission is considering legal action to end the schemes operated by Cyprus as well as Malta and Bulgaria, after alarm bells were raised following a media sting by Al Jazeera which exposed politicians pledging to help the application of a fictitious Chinese investor convicted of money laundering.