Chairman of the CBI Committee, Kaisha Ince gives assurances that the programme is surviving without a Director.
Five months after Steve Horsford was removed as Executive Director of Grenada’s Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme, the Keith Mitchell-led government has given its first official response to the development.
According to Health Minister Nickolas Steele, a decision was taken by management not to renew Horsford’s 3-year contract when it expired in April.
Addressing reporters at Tuesday’s weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister Steele said the CBI has been functioning without a head since then but government is seeking a replacement person with more skill sets.
“That three year contract came to an end and at the end of that period, the (CBI) board recommended that Mr. Horsford has completed his task in setting up the programme and that we should seek out somebody with different skill sets now that we have an active programme where the focus now is on marketing that programme and getting it out there, that we should seek someone with different skill sets and that is what we are currently involved in, to find an individual with the appropriate skill sets in that set market sector”, he said.
According to Minister Steele, who was once in charge of the CBI programme, the ideal candidate would be someone with international credibility.
“The particular skill sets that are being looked for now is someone with experience in marketing CBI, someone who has already international credibility within the programme, someone who has experience, credibility as well on the international forum in that programme to come to join us in this process and at this point in time in our CBI Programme.
“…That person I would think and it would be my expectation that in their tenure there, it would afford the opportunity for another Grenadian like Mr Horsford or anybody else with relevant qualifications to understudy so that eventually, the programme would be seen after by Grenadians.
Horsford is the husband of Agriculture Minister, Yolande Bain-Horsford, the current Member of Parliament for St. Andrew South-west.
Over the years, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called for his removal from the post and that of Head of the Financial Intelligence unit (FIU), Tafawa Pierre, the husband of another government minister on the grounds that they fell into the category of “politically exposed” persons.
Chairman of the CBI committee, attorney-at-law, Kaisha Ince who also addressed the press briefing said, the absence of an Executive Director was not affecting the functioning of the passport-selling programme.
Ince, an advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, said the CBI programme is functioning normally and is yielding successes.
“The CBI legislation actually gives the power to the Citizenship by Investment committee for oversight of the programme, the affairs and the operations of the programme. The CBI Office of the CBI committee takes care solely of administrative matters. So, there is no opportunity for any of the procedures or processes to be compromised in any way by the fact that the unit; the admin office does not currently have a head”, she said.
“…All normal functions are being undertaken – the committee is working. In fact, we are working very hard, we’ve seen an increase in applications this year and whereas the committee used only to meet once a month, we now have to meet every week in order to dispatch applications as quickly as possible…”, she added.
The Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) is looking to the sale of passports to bring in significant revenue to the island’s Treasury.
In recent weeks, reports have been surfacing in the international media about the alleged sale of diplomatic passports by Grenada – a charge denied by government.