By Moustafa Daly
With a new CEO of its Citizenship by Investment Unit, St Kitts and Nevis is shaking things up.
Michael Martin, who also is the CEO of St. Kitts-based Caribbean Commerce Ltd., introduced a slew of changes to the CIU at his first address. Most prominently, he has lowered the investment amount by $25,000 in a move announced as a ‘limited-time-offer’ for investors. This means the current cost to apply for citizenship is $125,000 investment. The lower investment amount is set to expire June 30, 2023.
The move is seen as an attempt to spur the program’s popularity in the short term.
“I believe that the Limited Time Offer (LTO) for a period of 6 months from 1 January to 30 June 2023 is to attract investors to make decisions early in the New Year as opposed to the latter half,” said Stacey Ann Aberdeen, managing partner of Aberdeen Law. “I see it as an early bird discount.”
Amidst increasing competition from nearby programs, Aberdeen anticipates the move to spike investors’ interest.
“A bargain gets the customer in the door whether they purchase/invest or not, and it is totally based upon the value of the bargain to the individual,” she explains. “I do believe this will have its benefits of getting more persons interested in the program as the price appears to be attractive. In my opinion such move will have a more positive impact on the program as a whole as it continues to add to its longevity.”
More changes to St Kitts’ program
Another change announced by Martin was the appointment of a board of governors for the CIU, which would be “responsible for high-level supervisory matters such as providing general oversight of the operations of the Unit,” said Martin.
A technical committee, whose members are yet to be appointed, has also been tasked with performing due diligence background checks and reviewing applications, announced Martin, hailing the move as part of the program’s strive to apply principles of good governance.
The news come on the tails of a recent announcement by the government that citizens will start receiving dividend payments from the revenue of the CBI program, announcing that $23 million have been allocated for the first dividend payout.
“I am in favor of the CBI dividend payout because I believe that it pumps much needed funds directly into the pockets of pensioners and qualified locals in need,” said Aberdeen. “The mere fact that this trickle-down effect is benefiting the citizenry is something I can stand by and I am sure the people of St Kitts are also happy about it.”
“Today these changes show the international community that we place honesty and integrity above all else as we look to deliver a product that will bring us a positive reputation and send a clear message that we are open for business,” said Martin.
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