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Dominican Opposition Not Surprised by Crackdown on CBI Program

Source: Loop Caribbean
Opposition Leader Jesma Paul-Victor said the United Kingdom’s decision to remove visa-free travel privileges for Dominican passport holders is “frightening” and “disappointing” and clearly shows how the government mismanaged the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program.

In her budget response yesterday, Paul-Victor highlighted sections of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s national address following the UK’s decision, saying the government’s plans to conduct a review of the CBI is an admission that the UK’s concerns were justified.

“These are very interesting reflections by the Prime Minister on this very disappointing outcome of his government’s lackluster stewardship of the largest income-earning source for Dominica for close to a decade. All the elements of his speech, which I have quoted, point to a disappointment of our prime minister and underscores his acceptance that there are still major differences in the management of our program,” she said.

UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, in her speech in the House of Commons on July 19, said passport holders from Dominica and Vanuatu were losing their visa-free travel privileges after a review of their CBI programs showed “clear and evident abuse of the scheme, including the granting of citizenship to individuals known to pose a risk to the UK”.

Paul-Victor said Dominicans at home and abroad were aware that the United States and the UK were concerned about the CBI and how it is being abused.

“Mr Speaker our government has yet to produce information to this Honourable House and the Dominican population at large, the requisite accounting of CBI revenues,” she said. “More significant is the failure of this Labour Party Government to tell our people the cumulated number of citizens to date, specifically the number of persons who will become economic citizens under this Roosevelt Skerrit Administration”.

Paul-Victor called on the prime minister to live up to his promises of accountability and remove the shroud of secrecy from the CBI so citizens can see how much money was earned from the program.

She added the opposition was not surprised by the crackdown on Dominica’s CBI program as the UK, US and European Union have been taking steps for years to restrict golden passport programs.