Nearly two years after turning the sod for operation of an organic Shrimp Farm in the parish of St. Mark, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is now shouting dissatisfaction as the proprietors of the project are now under investigation.
Dr. Mitchell told reporters at last week’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing that “significant” sums of money were collected by the proprietors who operated under the name Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture, but no investment was made.
The Prime Minister said that regional and international assistance is being sought to deal with the proprietors, and as a result of their failure to deliver as promised, changes had to be made to the CBI Programme.
“We have been disappointed in this one, we are not satisfied. We are now investigating and we are seeking support from our friends regionally and internationally to deal with the proprietors of that particular project because we know during the programme, they’ve collected significant sums of money and have not done any investment.
“Because of that, we have made some changes to the conditions of people receiving monies from CBI Programme, making sure it goes into Escrow account and they have to account for it on a regular basis with the government having oversight. Some of them don’t like it but we have to protect the name of the country.
A number of jobs were promised to residents of St. Mark by the investors during the launch in 2017.
Operations Manager of Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture, Manfred Soeffing said then: “We intend to employ, locally, as many persons as possible. With the auspices of our Chief scientist, we will train workers to run this operation, which will employ new and revolutionary technologies for raising shrimp. Some of the employees, by virtue of qualifications, will have an opportunity to secure a scholarship, attend university and attain further qualification in the subject field.”
Despite the setback with the Shrimp farm project, the Prime Minister continues to boast about the impact that the CBI programme was having on Grenada.
Dr. Mitchell contended that Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme could help with the growing concern of being under populated.
Grenada’s population of 110,000 has been stagnant for a number of years, and though the issue of under population is notably a regional problem, the fact remains that more than half of the current population of Grenada resides in the Diaspora.
According to Prime Minister Mitchell, although it is government’s job to have attractive incentives to bring Grenadians home, he believes that the CBI programme has the potential to fill the gap.
“…Half of the Grenadian population is in New York, Toronto and Miami and so on. Our job is to create opportunities so that more of our people can return. It’s not just a question of having more children, that could help to (a) certain extent and that is up to individual persons, but I think the Citizenship programme may yield additional persons”, he said.
The Prime Minister indicated that the founder of a very reputable electronic brand had applied to Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, and this signals that the country is attractive enough to encourage enough persons to come to its shores.
He said: “We had an application from one of the founders of Apple to Grenada Citizenship programme. Now when you get someone like that applying to a country – because there are several countries that are there for that individual to apply to – and for him to apply to us, it is a clear indication that people see Grenada as a choice place for being at. And you’re seeing the level of ships that are coming here, yachts that are coming here owned by billionaires, that’s a clear indication that people see Grenada as a very attractive and peaceful place”.