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Grenada

Where CBI Answered an Economic SOS

When the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme was launched in August 2013, it was believed by many to be the only way to save the island from an economic downfall. 

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell pushed the passport scheme in 2013 as his government battled economic struggles whipped up by the global financial downturn. Government declared that the programme would become a main source of revenue to help develop the island and pay outstanding debt to international creditors and lending agencies. 

The programme offers individuals the ability to buy its passport in as few as 60 days at a minimum cost of  USD $150,000 USD in addition to USD $8,000 processing fees. In 2018, five years after the programme started, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned of an overreliance on CBI inflows, noting that the programme accounted for 4.5 per cent of GDP in 2017:

“Further improve mechanisms for monitoring the proceeds of CBI inflows and recording all flows through the consolidated fund on budget to improve fiscal management and reporting,” was a major red flag from the IMF, which also asserted that “strict enforcement of the due diligence process of the CBI program are critical for Grenada’s continued stable access to cross-border bank payments”.(https://www.elibrary.imf.org/view/journals/002/2018/236/002.2018.issue-236-en.xml)

Source: IM Daily https://www.imidaily.com

The CBI program based on projections in the budget estimate is expected to remain a vital earner for Grenada’s economy. Red Flags

By law, the identity of beneficiaries under the programme is a tightly kept secret – just one of the restrictions that raises a transparency red flag for a programme that plays a major role in raising cash and investments to boost economic growth. 

Grenada is just one of five countries in the English-speaking Caribbean to offer the programme. Through these schemes, non-nationals can purchase citizen status after making financial commitments to invest in real estate or special funds set up by the governments. 

But there have been longstanding concerns by citizens, local anti-corruption lobbyists and powerful development partners in Europe and North America that the passport schemes could be abused to shield bad actors like money launderers and terrorism financiers.

About Caribbean Ponzis and Pyramids

There has been strong criticism in some circles over the use by pyramids and Ponzi schemes of monikers attached to longstanding traditional, informal savings associations that operate legally. 

Names such as “Sou Sou”, “Box Hand” and “Partners” are now widely employed in the marketing of unlawful Ponzi and pyramid operations. A sou-sou (also “susu”) is a type of informal savings club involving a small group of people within communities, families and workplaces who make contributions to a common fund with rotating disbursements of the pool of funds to members of the group. The concept is said to originate in West Africa and is in evidence throughout the Caribbean. In countries such as Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana, it is also known as “Box Hand”. “Partner” (also “Paadna”) plans are based on the same system and is popular in Jamaica.

COVID-19, Meet Hurricane Season

As The Corona Virus Batters The Virgin Islands’ Tourism Economy, The Lifeblood Of The Caribbean, Residents Prepare For Hurricane Season Amid Worries About Social Distancing In Shelters. Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Ask anyone in the British Virgin Islands what happened on September 6, 2017 and you will hear detailed accounts about how they survived Hurricane Irma, the Category Five hurricane that killed four people, injured 126 and flattened large swaths of the 60-island archipelago. “All we saw was white,” recalled Christine Ferreira, a native Trinidadian who has lived in the territory for over 20 years. “The roof was blown out, and when we left the room we were sheltered in during the eye of the storm, we were blinded by the light.”

Islanders here call their experiences “survivor stories.” 

Their resilience was on full display as they battled the Covid-19 pandemic. “I think after Irma, we all felt like if we can get through that, we can get through anything,” said Christi Maddox, owner of Villas Virgin Gorda, a vacation rental agency on the island of Virgin Gorda.