Former Grenadian Diplomat, Richard Nixon is encouraging Grenadians to see the Citizenship By Investment Programme (CBI) as a new scope of development for the country.
Nixon who was addressing what he claimed to be the “misconception” on the weekly “Sundays With George Grant Programme,” admitted that the CBI Programme must be administered in the right way that protects the country’s interest at all cost.
“Our interest has to be protected, but at the same time to benefit from the economic development this programme brings,” he said.
He thinks that the CBI Programme is a new dynamic that can have a significant economic impact on the country, but felt that the process has to be managed very carefully.
Nixon, considered to be a close ally of former Congress Foreign Minister, Peter David, once served as the Honorary Consul to Miami, and then went to China as Counselor and Head of Mission at the Embassy in Beijing.
Stating that he supports sustainable economic development, the ex-diplomat said he believes that Grenada has learnt from the mistakes it made in the past, and the best practices from other countries around the world, and to have it incorporated into a new programme.
“I strongly endorse it, but we have to be very careful that the programme (CBI) is run correctly with due diligence,” he said.
The 1999-2003 former New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell was forced to abandon its first passport-selling scheme after Canada imposed visa restrictions on Grenadians in the face of charges that questionable persons from China and Russia were trying to use the passports to enter Ottawa.
The programme was re-introduced in 2013 by Prime Minister Mitchell and is now the subject of media attention after U.S-born businessman, Roger Ver alleged that he was scammed of US$1 million by the controversial Robert Martin Oveson of NTL Trust, a company approved by the Grenada government to promote the island’s passports on the international market.
Ver has filed both a criminal complaint and taken out civil court action against Oveson for the return of the money that was allegedly taken for us on the Levera project in the north of the island.
Nixon who is a marketing agent for the CBI Programme claimed that for every client that is taken on, due diligent check is conducted.
He said perspective clients always speak of the Grenada programme as being very tough.
“We have to protect the people, we have to make sure people are coming for the right reasons, and then Grenada does its best to ensure that we grasp this,” he added.
The Grenadian marketing agent also played down the term used for the CBI as “a passport selling scheme.”
“That is very cheap, I think it’s derogatory, I think we are seeking investment and one of the benefits you get is citizenship. We are not selling passports,” he said.