Need for standardized due diligence procedures dominate conversations at inaugural Invest Caribbean Conference
May 25, 2016 - News Antigua and Barbuda
Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, stated that due diligence checks were the bedrock of sustainable Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) at Invest Caribbean, the very first major international citizenship investment conference of its kind to be held in the Caribbean region.
The conference, which is being held in Antigua and Barbuda from May 24-26, is organized by the Citizenship by Investment Unit of the country under the theme "Investing in Safety and Security and a New Vision for CIP".
Day one of the conference highlighted the critical need for strengthening and standardizing the due diligence procedures to ensure the programs of the different Caribbean jurisdictions offering legal second citizenship continue to remain robust and can stand up to international scrutiny.
The event has brought together key decision-makers from the global Citizenship by Investment industry and afforded delegates the opportunity to learn more about strategic policy updates to the regional CIP programs and understand key program benefits and differentiators from the heads of the participating CIP units. These included the man responsible for putting together the stimulating three-day program - Thomas Anthony of the Citizenship Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua and Barbuda - as well as invited participants including David Holukoff - Chairman of the Grenada CIP Committee, Deale Lee - Chairman of the St Lucia CIU and a representative of the Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skeritt, who made a striking comment on the need for regional CIP programs to "swim together in the Caribbean Sea or sink alone". The observation was made in reference to the underlining thread that ran through many of the sessions which focused on strengthening a common and universally high standard of due diligence and greater cooperation to avoid instances of "island shopping" - in which applicants who fail due diligence checks in one island manage to get through the system on another island by doctoring their applications.
The need to thoroughly vet agents and regularly scrub lists of partners who do not demonstrate high moral and ethical values was mentioned regularly throughout the day's proceedings which included a number of informative presentations, highlights of which included "A Regional Fiscal Perspective on the Economic Impact of CIPs" delivered by the Deputy Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCP), an academic look at "The Changing Concept of Citizenship" delivered by Dr. Marina Hrincu, Risk Assessment Officer Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship - Canada, and an overview of the processes that underpin strong due diligence presented by Kenneth 'Kim' Marsh, Executive Vice President International Operations - IPSA International.
Hon. Gaston Browne further commented that it was critical that the region avoid engaging in 'a race to the bottom' in terms of attracting applicants and ensure that existing policies and procedures of due diligence - many of which are already significantly more thorough than those required by several similar European programs - continue to be upheld and strengthened.
The reality that retaining visa-free access to a number of popular global business centres remained "pivotal" to the Caribbean CIP programs' success was stressed along with the need to ensure that one program's loss of face at an international level could potentially impact the reputation of the entire Caribbean region.
- Radhina Almeida Coutinho, Director of Strategic Communications, PassPro - Gold Sponsor of the inaugural Invest Caribbean Conference. PassPro is a specialist Citizenship by Investment consultancy firm offering global investors trusted guidance on obtaining legal second citizenship. With an in-depth knowledge of the Caribbean region and a core team of second citizenship planning experts we take pride in acting as ethical consultants who serve the best interest of the clients and government programs we represent. For more information, contact [email protected]
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