“Passport Selling Can Become The Undoing Of The Region”

Social activist and political commentator Jerry George says while he is not against CIP or Citizen Investment Programme in principal, here in the Caribbean, it has become the source of much scandal and corruption.

He says he has watched it worked in countries like Austria and Malta to name a few, but it can become the undoing of this region, so it must be watched with caution.

“As these scandals come out more and more the countries that have issues and interest at stake, they are not going to sit idly by, let us understand this”.

George said Antigua has just announced a new CIP programme, this one he says has diminished in cost considerably.

“So St Lucia first led the way in bringing down citizenship to a bargain basement, Antigua will soon come out with a lower price”.

George notes that in Malta you have to pay US 2Million dollars to get a passport, stay in the country for a year and make a real physical investment in that country.

“What have we been doing in the region, people don’t even have to come, just send their money and put their passport in a FedEx package,  and we send it for them”.

He said the situation in St Kitts where the opposition and government are currently playing a blame game has been fueled by the CIP.

“Our politicians have become so comfortable talking to these high worth individuals and talking to them at a level and making demands of them because they want our passports, they know these individuals would give anything for our passports because it is a huge asset to them and their nastiness”.

George said that the leaders in the region are not talking government to government; they are not interested in that he says.

“ When you speak to people in the European Union, you find out they hardly want to engage because the terms and conditions being asked for is too hard, its hard work, so we prefer to deal with countries who just hand out money without accountability”.

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