The announcement that the United Kingdom and the European Union are cracking down on nations that sell their passports, according to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has validated his choice not to create a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Gonsalves said in an interview with the government-run Agency For Public Information (API) today that he had anticipated this as an unsustainable strategy to generate income from the start.
Look, those who chose to build their economic strategy on that and didn’t see it, like the opposition in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, are now paying for it. When I remark that this is not sustainable, I am using my mature judgment. Your economic development cannot be based on this. These kinds of funds cannot be used to finance a budget, he said.
Due to worries about undesirable people entering Britain using their purchased citizenship, the UK recently removed Dominica and Vanuatu passport holders from its list of visa-free nations.
By the end of 2023, passport holders from St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis would also require a visa if they do not end their CBI programs, according to the UK.
By excluding certain nations from the Schengen Visa Waiver Program, the EU Commission intends to follow suit.
In order to discuss the issue, CBI Caribbean countries’ representatives recently met with EU representatives in Brussels, Belgium.
After the meeting, according to Gonsalves, one of his regional coworkers informed him that “it’s the end of the road” because the impending EU crackdown is more stringent than the UK’s.
Gonsalves emphasized that the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) members, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will be profoundly shocked by the removal of the CBI.
St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis, according to the prime minister, must now find new means to cover their ongoing expenses and generate foreign currency.
According to him, the ECCU nations have decided to cooperate while a transition is underway “to help lessen the burden of suffering.”