The prime minister was speaking at the first National Consultation on the Citizenship by Investment Program that was held under the theme, ‘The Way Forward Through Collaboration’. CBI service providers, developers, accountants and real estate representatives were among the large audience participating in the consultation.
He apologized for the inconveniences caused while the new government sought to restore better relations with Canada and the USA, and to begin the process of reforming the CBI program. He explained also the necessity to be circumspect as the new government determined the complete nature of the problem
He told stakeholders that sensitive diplomacy with countries that lodged complaints about the federation’s CBI program required almost “singular focus” in “recalibrating the relationship” with the United States and Canada in particular. He said, “In the context of what we faced, we had to be careful that powerful persons did not conceive that this new government was continuing on the path of the old administration… We had to give confidence to the integrity of the work done by an international group that had been endorsed by the international community.”
In dealing with the situation, he indicated that it was imperative to rebuild trust in the federation’s CBI. Harris said, “For the avoidance of doubt as to our commitment to the program, for the avoidance of doubt that we truly were going to work in a cooperative way with the USA, with Canada, with the British Government, with the EU, we will implement these (IPSA recommendations).”
But having gone through the initial challenge following the change of government, the prime minister indicated that the program is ready to continue at normal pace. He said, “We are where we are that we can say comfortably to the rest of the world that the CBI program is now open for legitimate business. Yes, we will ensure that the program has the necessary safeguards in place for its long termed sustainability, and that is why we accepted the 20 recommendations that have been made by IPSA on different ways we could strengthen the program.”
Prime Minister Harris reminded the audience that the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship program offered the best options. He stated, “Our program has the most powerful selling points. It is the oldest and best, and it has been tried and proven successful… We want a discerning clientele to come to St. Kitts and Nevis, because we will say and we will defend that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis only deserve the best.”