The cash-strapped Keith Mitchell-led government in Grenada has made another amendment to its controversial Citizenship By Investment Programme (CBI), which the one-year old administration is hoping to use to bring in millions of dollars into the Treasury.
The amendment now gives the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Mitchell the authority to grant immediate citizenship to foreign nationals who purchase Grenadian passports.
The amendment, which received approval of the House of Representatives last week Friday, goes before the Senate today (Friday) for approval before it is sent to the Governor-General to take effect.
This is the second major amendment to the Bill by government since it was originally passed in Parliament in August 2013.
The first amendment of the Bill saw the deleting of one of the requirements in the report – the giving of the names, addresses and nationalities of applicants and dependents.
This new amendment gives the Minister of Finance the authority to grant citizenship to an applicant who makes a significant investment in Grenada.
Under the law, a significant investment includes the purchase of a registered business or real estate, the purchase of a registered business or a registered company operating in Grenada, the purchase of shares in a company or consortium of companies, or any other investment as determined by the Minister himself by Order from time to time.
The law prevents a successful applicant from disposing of the investment for a period of three years after the person is granted citizenship.
Mitchell’s ruling New National Party (NNP) administration introduced the CBI which deals with the sale of passports following its 15-0 victory at the polls in February 2013.
An earlier NNP regime was forced to halt an earlier programme following reports that several questionable characters including some with criminal backgrounds like Ambassador Eric Resteiner were granted citizenship and diplomatic passports.
Amidst the controversy, Canada imposed visa restrictions on Grenadian nationals on the grounds that persons who were deemed non-Grenadians were landing on their shores with these passports.
In delivering the 2013 Budget, Dr. Mitchell announced that the new CBI programme will be tailored to Grenada’s needs and will take great care to attract clean and credible investors.
The administration is hopeful of raising $27 million in revenue annually from the scheme.