Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Error made in original CBI legislation

By Linda Straker

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has said that it was an error on the part of Government to initially include a section in the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) legislation which provides for the names, addresses and nationalities of persons who applied for Grenada citizenship to be made public.

“I think it was an error on our part. No other country has it in their legislation and that could be a hindrance to us. There is no need to expose every single name who applied,” Dr. Mitchell said in last Tuesday’s post-Cabinet briefing.

International Business and Foreign Affairs Minister, Nickolas Steele, presented the amended legislation to Parliament on March 7. He said that the section in the law was identified after it was approved by both Houses of Parliament, and that removing it from the legislation is a matter of protecting the applicants’ privacy.

When he presented the amendment, Minister Steele told Parliament that the amendment is an adjustment Government finds necessary. He further explained that not exposing the names does not mean that applicants will not undergo the due diligence process following the application. “Every applicant will have to undergo due diligence,” he said.

The House of Representatives – which currently does not have an elected Opposition – amended the Citizenship by Investment legislation to delete the section of the Act which required that the names, addresses and nationalities of persons who have applied for Grenada citizenship be included in the bi-annual report of the programme to be presented to Parliament no later than September of every year.

According to the legislation, the Citizenship by Investment Committee shall be responsible for processing any application for any licence under the Act, and any application for Citizenship
by Investment or Permanent Residence by Investment. Section 7 of the legislation states the Committee may engage the services of one or more persons or bodies which are independent, professional, and qualified, to conduct due diligence checks in respect of every applicant, and every dependent over 11 years of age. The applicant may be required to attend an interview in Grenada or at an Embassy or High Commission of Grenada, before any decision is made in relation to his or her application. An application for Citizenship by Investment or for Permanent Residence by Investment shall only be submitted by an agent who is the holder of a Local Agent’s licence. A number of lawyers were recently appointed as local agents, according to the February 6 Gazette.

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