ST GEORGES, Grenada — Grenada has announced that it will join the recent round of price cuts for regional economic citizenship precipitated by St Kitts and Nevis in September, which has been widely viewed as an unproductive “race to the bottom”.
According to Investment Migration Insider, the chair of Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Committee, Kaisha Ince, announced during the 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Hong Kong last week, that the Grenada citizenship by investment programme (CIP) will see some significant changes before the end of the year.
Chief among them is the lowering of the contribution requirement for a single applicant from US$200,000 to $150,000. The Cabinet has reportedly approved the change, which will come into effect once the corresponding CBI regulation amendment is gazetted sometime before the end of this year.
St Kitts and Nevis initiated the current price war and this was followed by Antigua and Barbuda. Dominica and Saint Lucia were already at the lower end of the scale, although Dominica may have to rethink its pricing for the typical family of four application unit.
Grenada therefore found itself at a significant cost disadvantage for its CIP compared to the five Eastern Caribbean countries. The upcoming reduction will bring the programme closer in line with pricing elsewhere in the region, but the price tag is still 50 percent above three of its competitors, a premium many industry observers have argued that Grenada can command as a party to the United States E2 investor visa treaty and the only Caribbean CIP country to offer visa-free access to China.
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Committee has further announced that dependent children may be aged up to 30 years old and are no longer required to be enrolled in school. Previously, only children under the age of 26 who were currently enrolled in school qualified as dependents.
Dependent parents above the age of 55, moreover, will no longer be required to pay the additional contribution of US$50,000 to qualify. The program regulations had previously only waived the additional contribution requirement for aged dependents over 65.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently launched his own initiative to harmonise the regional citizenship by investment programmes.
“I have been an advocate for harmonisation and better coordination and cooperation among member states of the OECS that offer citizenship by investment programmes. It’s the right thing to do; it’s the sensible thing to do to protect the integrity of our respective programmes. We don’t want to have a situation where there is a race to the bottom,” he told Caribbean News Now in an exclusive interview earlier this month.
“In fact, I’ve gone as far to have written to the various country heads requesting a forum where we could come together to decide on harmonisation, not only harmonisation in terms of fees but certainly on due diligence standards to ensure that there is absolutely no possibility for anyone to exploit our due diligence process, so that you would not have a situation where one country rejects an application and they can go to another country and get it approved. There has to be some level of cooperation,” Browne said.
At a recent Investment Immigration Summit East Asia in Hong Kong, asked whether Dominica will follow St Kitts and Antigua in the recent controversial reduction of its CBI programme prices, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit replied, “The government of Dominica has not taken any decision in respect to this matter. What I would like to see though, for the long-term benefit of the programme, is for there to be a base price for all the categories within our programmes based on a gentlemen agreement, that we shouldn’t go below a particular price point.”
A meeting was reportedly to have been held between the five heads of government to discuss such a common approach on the margins of the recent United Nations post-hurricane donor pledging conference in New York but there has been no word of any outcome.