Grenada has already raised US$32 million this year from the sale of passports under its Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme, according to Chairman of the CBI committee, Kaisha Ince, an attorney-at-law from Trinidad & Tobago.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, Ince who is also an Advisor in the Office of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, said that the money was raised from 250 applications by non-nationals for Grenadian passports.
She told reporters that at this point in time the programme is already ahead of last year’s performance when only 178 applications were received by the committee.
Vice-Chairman of the CBI committee, Ruel Edwards addressed the link between the passport-selling programme and creating employment in the country.
“So we have the NTF, which is the contribution that would have gone.
According to Edwards, there is the National Transformation Fund (NTF) where persons seeking a Grenadian passport can make a financial contribution to a Government of Grenada-approved project.
“…We have at least 23 projects that (have) been approved by the committee and of course sanctioned by government”, he said.
“Those projects are not just in the hotel sector but we have at least two projects in agriculture – one that specifically deals with the Sour Sop and doing Value Added to Sour Sop”, he added.
The controversial Levera hotel project involving the Oveson family of the United States is known to be a CBI-approved investment project under the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government.
The Silver Sands along the Grand Anse beach is also another CBI-approved project.
Edwards told reporters that the CBI Programme is providing investment funds to allow that investors to develop their business using what he referred to as “soft funding”.
“…The CBI Programme … provides the construction jobs during construction for those people that are involved in that project. After a hotel is built, let’s supposed it’s a hotel, you provide the direct employment in terms of staffing and manning that hotel and then you provide the linkages throughout the economy because small business would have to provide services. The Agriculture Sector would be linked because you have to provide food etc for the guests and for the staff that comes into the economy”, he said.
According to Edwards, Cabinet has developed a list of criteria that will be used to monitor those CBI-approved projects now taking place in places like Grand Anse, True Blue, St. Mark, St. David, St Patrick, and Carriacou,
“…Because we are taking that project seriously … we work closely with our neighbours, the JRCC (Joint Regional Communication Centre). We share information on applicants who would have been denied in a particular country from gaining access to another country to prevent what we call shopping around”, he said.
“So, there are a lot of things that are going (on) … as it relates to security in the region to preserve the programme…”, he added.