CBI expert commends new CIU boss

A Citizenship by Investment Strategist, Johanan Lafeuille-Doughlin has commended the newly installed head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Thomas Anthony, for taking the necessary steps to safeguard the integrity of Grenada’s 6-year-old passporting selling scheme known as Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.

Thomas Anthony from Antigua, who took over the CIU last September

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Lafeuille-Doughlin praised the new CEO for “doing a stellar job implementing the frameworks to ensure the safety and confidence that is needed in the programme for all involved”.

Anthony has been engaged in the due diligence field in the CBI from Antigua and is a former Global Head of Exiger’s Immigration, Citizenship, and Visa Practice.
He was the Deputy CEO of the Antigua & Barbuda (Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) between 2013 and 2017 and also acted as interim CEO for several months toward the end of his tenure there.

Since his arrival to head Grenada’s CIU in September 2018, the unit along with the government have taken several steps deemed important in securing the programme’s integrity and improving its attractiveness, signed an extradition treaty with China, warning potential criminals that a Grenadian passport is no get out of jail free card; approved the sale of CBI-property in the secondary market; and widened the “dependents” definition to include siblings.

Currently, a failed shrimp-farming project that collected CBI-investment but later stalled is now the subject of an investigation.

Singling out the failed shrimp farm CBI project, Lafeuille-Doughlin pointed out that the government, with the recent amendments to the CBI Act, has set up a new escrow structure whereby, “project owners and developers would have to give account for the monies they are drawing down to phase out their projects, what it is being used for and the like”.

“So, no investor could just come and say I have an approved project, (and) take investors money and not do anything with it…the government would now have to say show us what you are doing,” she said.

“The Citizenship by Investment Unit’s Project Escrow Management Framework (PEMF) will effectively implement Statutory Rules and Orders No. 28 of 2017 (and) will enhance government oversight of the use of investor funds. This new structure strengthens the integrity of CBI program, and boosts investor confidence to buy into viable projects,” the female strategist explained.

According to Lafeuille-Doughlin, the new CBI regulations will allow a new pricing option under the real estate investment route of US$220,000, taking effect from Monday (April 1st, 2019).

She noted that only projects that apply for and receive written approval as prescribed to come under the Citizenship by Investment Unit’s PEMF will qualify to take advantage of the new price option.

She added that “in order for migration investors to buy in at the new price point, they must do so together with a co-applicant which will allow for a total US$440,000 deposit to such qualified project”.

“So, monies would then be held in that escrow account and there will be very strict guidelines as to how monies are drawn down and paid out (creating) a win-win situation for the project owner on the ground, the Grenada programme because it’s more secure and for investors who wish to invest in a project on the ground”, she said.

In addition, the expert stated that the government will also have “a say in how the monies are managed and that gives some added confidence… specifically to ensure that the project comes on stream and the monies are used for just that”.

Lafeuille-Douglin LLB (Hons), LEC is a Real Estate Investment Strategist, Real Estate Attorney-at-Law and Citizenship by Investment Framework Specialist and a Motivational Speaker, who helps real estate investment, development entities and select high net worth individuals create safe and profitable projects.

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