The Lower House of Parliament last week Friday approved amendments to the Act governing its 5-year-old Citizenship by Investment Programme, to offer what it considers to be a more attractive range of benefits to investors.
Minister for Trade, Industry, Co-operatives and CARICOM Affairs, Oliver Joseph who presented the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the House of Representatives said that the amendments expand the definition of dependents as it relates to CBI applications to include parents and grandparents who are below the age of 55, unmarried siblings of the main applicant and spouse as well as children born within 12 months of the granting of citizenship.
The Bill removes the requirements for dependent children between the ages of 18 and 30 to be enrolled at an institution of higher learning and for parents or grandparents over 55 years to be fully supported.
It also provides for the removal of permanent residence as a pre-requisite for citizenship and for secondary purchasers of CBI units in approved projects to acquire citizenship.
Minister Joseph told the Lower House that the intention is to make Grenada’s CBI Programme more attractive to offer greater value for money to investors.
“You would note that there is no amendment that reduces prices. We must have a programme that offers attractive benefits, without having to reduce the price, he said, pointing out that the price for the NTF remains at “US$200, 000,” while the “price for siblings has been increased from US$25, 000 to US$75, 000 and US$350, 000 for approved projects.”
Grenada offers two (2) options under its Citizenship by Investment Programme. One (1) option requires a contribution to the National Transformation Fund (NTF), while the other provides for a real estate investment and a smaller contribution to the fund.
Standing in support of the amendments, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell drew attention to the importance of the CBI Programme but also asserted that the country will not compromise on security to maintain the programme.
“Grenada is not dependent on CBI, therefore, we do not have to compromise on security to maintain our programme. It is important that we stay competitive but at the same time, we must maintain the integrity of the programme. Any action by one country that compromises security can have serious consequences for the entire region, therefore we must all be mindful of that,” the Prime Minister said.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David, who also stood in support of the amendments, said the CBI programme must be continuously reviewed to ensure that it remains competitive.
He said, “Grenada has one of the most rigorous, due diligence programmes”, noting that “there are checks conducted electronically and there are also persons on the ground who would knock on the doors of applicants to verify the accuracy of what is stated on applications.
“We know the importance of the CBI Programme to the country and we must maintain its integrity”, he added.