The New Today

Letters

A much friendlier CBI programme?

There is no shortage of people condemning the CBI programs with solid arguments. Additionally, these programs are under increasing political pressure. Malta had to stop its activities and the newest example is Portugal, no more golden passports from this country. Caribbean Governments seem to have no courage to exit this path. Is it simply greed for easy money?

To put it into perspective: The typical applicant is a Centi-Millionaire, by definition an individual with more than USD 100 million in liquid assets. He/she visits a local specialised law office, fills out the papers and is assured to receive the requested passport within 30 to 60 days. That’s all. Many if not most of these new passport holders have never been and will never be in the land of the additional passport.

How much does it cost? A bit simplified:

(A) Investment in a small condominium which may even generate rental income. The applicant owns still the same amount of wealth, it is only slightly differently invested. The passport is given as a token. Or

(B) Purchase of the passport(s). The amount is more or less like A. The six-digit USD amount is comparable to the normal yearly budget for a family vacation of this category of people.

This is the value assigned to Grenadian passports by the previous and current Government.

Instead of liquidating the program, it shall become “much friendlier” as is declared by the head of the CBI office in the “The New Today” newspaper of October 28, 2022. A white-wash event is planned for November 4, 2022. The participant of the event, the “Investment Migration Council IMC” is praised in length.

It does not take much time or special skills to disguise the wolf in sheep’s skin, a check in Wikipedia displays enough. IMC is a public relation office co-founded and co-financed by Henley & Partners and numerous other companies in the same business segment.

It is as professionally set up as lobby organisations normally are. It is no surprise; it is based in Switzerland where Henley & Partners has its head office. And it is located in Geneva to be in the nearness of important international organisations. All well done, yet transparent.

The planned event with the lobbyists of IMC will be a setup alibi exercise.

The even greater concern is about passports given to Russians and Belarussians since February 24, 2022. The new Government should have stopped this immediately once it became known.

Russians engaged in opposition can receive special visas and residencies in Western European countries. They are not the people needing purchased passports and they would not be able to afford them. The beneficiaries are the very wealthy and again the Centi-Millionaires. They have profited from the corrupt Russian system for many years and stroke it rich.

They are a part of the Russian system and have been loyal to the Kremlin. They are attached to those unscrupulous autocrats who invaded a peaceful country with the intent to destroy it. Although not sanctioned as oligarchs, western nations are exploring ways to confiscate their accounts in western banks to help build back the Ukraine.

A Grenadian passport allows them to wash their money and declare it as asset of a Grenadian citizen.

Grenada is seriously undermining the western effort in countermeasures against Putin in issuing passports to these people.

The current practise may not (yet) violate international laws, but it is shocking, unethical, short-sighted and outright stupid. An unspecified reference to a U.S practise is no justification.

The CBI program is highly controversial since its beginning. Passports to Russians and Belarussians should be stopped immediately. It is inevitable. The rest of the program should be faced out in a structured way. The honour and credibility of Grenada is at stake.

A concerned Grenadian in the diaspora.

Peter Gernert
Switzerland