CIC president calls for ‘frank and open’ talks to fix CBI program

The CIC president was speaking at the IPSA International organized Caribbean Region Citizenship by Investment Forum held at the Ocean Terrace Inn on 15th June. With Eastern Caribbean countries that operate CBI programs present at the forum, Hobson was of the view that a collaborative approach in dealing with the negative issues that impact the CBI programs could best be resolved collectively.

He told the audience, “We are convinced that a ‘home-grown’ Caribbean solution, with the assistance and collaboration of experienced extra-regional agencies and friendly governments, is our best option to structure a new paradigm that is anchored in greater transparency, accountability and professionalism.”

Apart from CBI service providers, the forum also attracted government officials from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union, who were there to explain how their countries viewed the security risks of the Caribbean’s CBI programs.

CIC President Hobson called for “frank and open” discussions of the “harmful steps taken in the past”, as the effort is made to improve and strengthen the CBI programs in the Eastern Caribbean, programs that exist in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Considering the beneficial impact that the CBI program has on the economic stability of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hobson was of the view that all must be done to enhance and sustain the integrity of the program for the coming years in CBI operating states.

He said, “In order for us to safeguard that future to which we are all committed, we must also engage in internal and critical analysis, designed to strengthen our CBI programs and to protect them from the external threats that can only close the new fiscal space that the CBIs deliver.

He suggested, “The resolve by all should be to find workable solutions to correct the weaknesses wherever they may exist.”

While he commended the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for its intention to implement stricter controls and procedures recommended by IPSA International, the agency that carries out the due diligence checks on the federation’s CBI applications, the CIC president wants the government to include the private sector in the program’s reform process.

Hobson said, “The Chamber invites the government to share the latest IPSA report with private sector stakeholders like our organization. Greater knowledge of the problems and recommended resolutions could better guide our involvement.”

He continued, “We as the Chamber support the efforts of the government, and we encourage them to continue along the path of corrective measures. The framework of cooperation should include a joint approach between fellow Caribbean states in order to seek consensus to deal with this growing contributor to economic activity in our countries.”

According to the CIC president, the CBI program in St. Kitts and Nevis has been responsible for the significant hike in Foreign Direct Investment and accompanying employment for skilled and unskilled workers in the federation.

Over the next two days, the forum will meet behind closed doors to deal with many of the critical issues associated with security concerns of governments, particularly those of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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