The cash-strapped Keith Mitchell-led administration has made another amendment to its passport-selling scheme in order to attract more persons.
The near three-year-old government has taken legislation to Parliament to amend the Citizenship by Investment Bill to provide for persons whose grandparent(s) are registered as a citizen of Grenada to also become eligible to apply for Grenadian citizenship as well.
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme was launched in 2013 under the regulations of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act that was approved by Parliament in August 2013.
Under the current law, an individual(s) whose grandparent(s) are citizens of Grenada cannot claim Grenadian citizenship.
According to Economic Development Minister Oliver Joseph, who introduced the Citizenship by Investment (Amendment) Bill (2015) to the December 18 sitting of the Lower House, the new bill makes provision for the Minister with responsibility for matters relating to Citizenship to have “exclusive discretion” to grant citizenship to qualified persons.
“However, the minister must be satisfied that the person has a grandparent who is or was a citizen, that the person is of good character and that the person intends to continue to be in the service to the state of Grenada,” he said.
This is the fourth major amendment that the Mitchell’s administration is seeking to make to the Bill since it was originally passed close to three years ago.
The first amendment saw the deleting of one of the requirements in the report – the giving of the names, addresses and nationalities of applicants and dependents.
The second change gave the Minister of Finance the authority to grant citizenship to an applicant who makes a significant investment in Grenada.
The third amendment gave the Minister power to regulate how applicants under the CBI pay their investment monies to the state.
In presenting the 2016 budget in November, Prime Minister Mitchell disclosed that “the area of the 2015 Budget which has not met our expectations is grants from the National Transformation Fund ((NTF) under the Citizenship By Investment Programme (CBI)”.
“We project to collect only $12 million compared to the budgeted $124.9 million ….”, he said.
PM Mitchell admitted that the lack of funds resulted in his government “curtailing capital expenditure” in the last fiscal year.
THE NEW TODAY understands that government has been forced to drop CBI fees in order to lure more persons to purchase Grenadian passports.