Call for Investigation into Citizenship by Investment Program of St. Kitts & Nevis

Now, at least one other Caribbean state is finding reason to place a spotlight on the St. Kitts and Nevis initiative, with a lobby group in Grenada, calling on that island’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, respectively, to launch an investigation, into what they are claiming could be a case of conflict of interest, involving one senior official, based in the Basseterre offices of the company that is authorized to promote and sell citizenship, under the program.

MiyVue.com therefore publishes with no further comment, the contents of a letter written to Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and his Finance Minister, Nazim Burke.

 CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT

March 1st,,2012

Hon. Tillman Thomas
Prime Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs
Hon. V. Nazim Burke
Minister of Finance

Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Minister,

Re Henley & Partners, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission

Citizens in Defence of Grenada’s Lands and Heritage presents its compliments and best wishes!

We take this opportunity to write to you Hon. Prime Minister as head of government and in your capacity as Minister for Legal Affairs and to Hon. Nazim Burke in his capacity as a member of Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to express our concern on what we perceive to be a conflict of interest and its implications for two regional institutions — the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission – and the confidence of the people of the region in these two institutions.

The conflict of interests, as we perceive it, involves one, Mr. Wendell Lawrence of Henley and Partners, who is also a member of the Board of Directors and who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and a member of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

1. Citizenship by Investment:
The Government of Grenada, via the Minister of Finance and also through the Office of Private Sector Development, has recently announced its intention to introduce a citizenship by investment programme. The nation was advised that the Swiss firm of Henley & Partners was advising the government on the setting up of such a programme. The nation was also advised that St. Kitts and Dominica have citizenship-by-investment programmes.

2. Henley & Partners:
It is our understanding that Henley and Partners are agents for the economic citizenship programme in St. Kitts. Its website advises, “through its office in Basseterre, Henley and Partners assists non nationals in acquiring citizenship through the citizenship by investment programme.” One, Mr. Wendell E. Lawrence is identified as a Partner at Henley & Partners’ main Caribbean office in St. Kitts. According to the website, Mr. Lawrence “deals specifically with the citizenship-by-investment programmes in St. Kitts & Nevis and the Commonwealth of Dominica”.

3. H.E. Wendell E. Lawrence:
A further search has elicited the following information about this Henley Partner at the Basseterre office.
• Ambassador: Mr. Wendell E. Lawrence is St. Kitts’ Ambassador to the OECS, CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States
• Board of Governors, ECCB: He represents the Government of St. Kitts & Nevis on the Board of Governors of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
• Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission: He is also a member of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission which appoints the judges to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

4. Conflict of Interests:
Hon. Prime Minister and Hon. Minister, permit us to express the view that, given Mr. Lawrence’s association Henley and Partners and with the citizenship-by-investment programme in St. Kitts, his membership of the Board of Directors of a regional financial regulatory institution, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, and his membership of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission, constitutes a conflict of interests inimical to the public image of these two august institutions and to the interests of the citizens of the region served by these institutions.

As citizens of Grenada who take a keen interest in the governance processes of our country, we consider it our responsibility to also take an interest in the governance of the regional institutions to which Grenada belongs. We thank you for the opportunity to bring the matter to your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Sandra C.A. Ferguson
for CITIZENS IN DEFENCE OF GRENADA’S LANDS AND HERITAGE
c/o P.O. Box 750, St. George’s
E-Mail: citizensgrenada@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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