Concerns about ‘Citizenship By Investment Programs’

Go Lean Commentary

People come to the Caribbean for so many reasons. The book Go Lean…Caribbean cataloged 3 primary reasons: 1. Live, 2. Work, and 3. Play.

This last category is so vast that it covers the full scope of tourism: sun, sand, sea, surf, savor, salsa and smoke; (savor as in foods; salsa as in dance and smoke as in cigars). This is the region’s primary economic activity.  But now there are reports of a new attraction starting to emerge in certain Caribbean member-states:


“Say it ain’t so?!?!”

There are reports that many newcomers are relocating to Caribbean member-states for other, sometimes nefarious, reasons: proximity (to other North American markets), legacy status (Overseas territory of European powers), favorable tax status, and lax governmental oversight. These occurrences have raised the ire of many developed nations (United States, Canada and the EU). There are concerns too for the planners of a new elevated Caribbean, the promoters of the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU); the purpose of which is to elevate Caribbean society, for all 30 member-states. The book does not ignore the subject of nationality and immigration, so reports of newcomers relocating to member-states just for citizenship purposes must be fully vetted.

Consider this article on this issue in St. Kitts & Nevis:

Title #1: US, Canada and EU monitoring St Kitts-Nevis citizenship programme, says opposition
By: Ken Richards, West Indies News Network; Posted: January 6 2015  –

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) — There is fresh criticism of the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme (CIP), following reports that the US Department of Treasury is closely monitoring the activities of a former Iranian national who now holds a St Kitts and Nevis passport.

According to the Treasury Department, 49-year-old Hossein Zeidi was responsible for converting foreign currency into US bank notes for delivery to the Iranian government.

Zeidi is reported to be among nine individuals and entities under surveillance pursuant to various Iran-related regulations.
They are accused by the US of supporting Iranian government sanctions evasion efforts.

The US Treasury Department says that Zeidi holds a St Kitts and Nevis passport, number RE0003553.

- Photo 1Team Unity leader Timothy Harris is reiterating the opposition group’s concern about such developments, and the impact they are having on the CIP.

He recalled that the Americans had issued an advisory last May against the federation’s citizenship programme.

“It is therefore reasonable that that department will continue to pursue the activities of the citizenship by investment programme and of the government officials in particular,” Harris told WINN FM.

“We know for sure that the US Treasury Department continues to be interested in the CIP programme, continues to be interested in the cavalier manner in which our passports are being sold like black pudding on a Saturday,” the MP who heads the opposition alliance said.

According to Harris, Canada and the European Union are also monitoring the St Kitts and Nevis programme.

The US Treasury Department gave no details as to how Zeidi had in his possession a St Kitts-Nevis passport, but the twin island Federation provides citizenship to foreigners who make significant investments in the country.

Treasury Department officials claim that the Iranian government contracted with Zeidi and Seyed Kamal Yasini to convert Iranian funds denominated in non-Iranian local currency into US dollars.

According to the Americans, these individuals and their network have to date effected the delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars in US dollar bank notes to the Iranian government in violation of existing sanctions.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network

Consider too, this older article of this issue in the Turks & Caicos Islands:

Title #2: British government refutes Turks and Caicos economic citizenship claim
By: Caribbean News Now contributor Published on April 18, 2014; retrieved January 13, 2015 from:

- Photo 3PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — Britain’s Home Office has refuted a claim by promoters of a resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) that investors are eligible to apply for a British Overseas Territory Citizen passport, thereby enabling the holder to reside in the UK.

In a press release on Monday entitled “Eligibility for British Overseas Territory Citizen passport … with Turks and Caicos resort project”, Asia Pacific Investment House claimed that “Investors in Caicos Beach Club Resort and Marina are eligible to apply for a permanent residency certificate and British Overseas Territory Citizen passport, enabling the holder to reside in the UK, making this a highly coveted investment opportunity.”

However, according to Tom Lawrence, at the Home Office Communications Directorate in London:

  • Eligibility for British Overseas Territory Citizenship ((BOTC) is governed by the British Nationality Act 1981. Citizenship is granted by the governor of the territory and OverseasTerritories are not able to grant BOTC status other than in accordance with that Act.
  • Residency and other requirements for BOTC status apply, so anyone who has not lived lawfully in the territory for a number of years is unlikely to qualify.
  • Criteria for the grant of BOT Citizenship include residence requirements, a good character requirement and an intention to make the principal home within the relevant territory.
  • Generally, the residency requirements are for a minimum of five years residence immediately preceding the application, during which total absences must not exceed 450 days with a maximum of 90 days absence in the last year. The applicant must not have been in breach of immigration rules at any time during those five years and the last year of residence must have been free of any immigration control.
  • BOTCs do not have the right of abode in the UK unless they later become British citizens.

“There is no direct route to BOTC and the investor will have to meet the eligibility requirements as noted,” Neil Smith, the TCI governor’s spokesman, confirmed.

Asia Pacific Investment House, which describes itself as “a leading venture capital company, registered in the offshore regime of the British Virgin Islands, with its operating HQ in Singapore’s financial district”, did not respond to requests for comment.

It is not known at this time if the British and/or TCI authorities will take action in relation to these apparently false claims targeting uninformed investors.

There is a consistent pattern here, in order to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), Caribbean politicians, administrators or business/investment development specialists make promises related to easy citizenship. This is definitely a wrong community ethos!

There are other Caribbean member-states that have Citizenship by Investment Programs established (or proposed):

* The first persons to attain Antigua & Barbuda citizenship under the Citizenship by Investment Programme was George Georges and his family of four, Syrian nationals.

- Photo 2

“Other countries (Australia, Belgium, Portugal, Singapore, Spain the UK and the US) provide an alternate approach, temporary residence permits or “golden visas” to wealthy individuals in return for investment. Applicants can often receive permanent residency through such schemes by sustaining their investment through a period of two to five years, but the aforementioned Caribbean nations typically offer cheaper and almost immediate routes to full citizenship in exchange for a one-off investment. In St. Kitts & Nevis, for example, the entire process, including background checks, takes as little as 90 days”. (Source: Nearshores Americas). “Most countries withhold official data regarding the number of people who have become citizens through CIPs or the amount of FDI recouped, but Henley and Partners$  [(Professional Residency & Citizenship Advisors with offices in 25 countries)] estimate that such schemes generate US$2 billion a year worldwide. Unsurprisingly, cash-strapped Caribbean countries that are often overly reliant on tourism have been quick to take notice”.

When factoring in the recent publicity of the harsh treatments to boat-bound refugees, these lax CIPs give the impression that citizenship in the Caribbean is For Sale; that there is no concern for human rights for certain refugees (Haitian, Cubans, Jamaicans, etc.); but let someone show up with some money then the nationality doors are wide open. This too is wrong!

In a previous blog commentary, the increased migrant flow of Caribbean refugees were detailed.  Also, the current conflict in the Bahamas, with the accusations of human rights abuses from the Haitian-American Diaspora in Miami was also thoroughly addressed.

The One Percent versus the 99 Percent; the “Have’s versus the Have-Not’s”! So many Failed-State images# come to mind. The Go Lean book qualifies the characteristics of Failed-States (Page 272-273); these 2 attributes here are most prominent:

  • Uneven Economic Development Along Group Lines (UED)
  • Rise of Factionalized  Elites (FE)

The Go Lean roadmap seeks to elevate the Caribbean, in its entirety. The impressions of some “Banana Republic” – Failed-State – are unbecoming! It undermines legitimate investment in the region and the worthiness of natives from these Caribbean islands when they travel abroad. The occurrence of some “Citizenship for Hire” practice for some Caribbean state automatically draws scorn for other nearby states. Truthfully, the rest of the world does not know the difference of St. Kitts versus St. Vincent, or the Turks/Caicos Islands versus the Bahama Islands. All of these Caribbean member-states are in the “same boat”, and are judged by the same yardstick.

Change has now come to the Caribbean! This is the call for greater accountability/transparency on a regional basis.

Why should the CU be charged with responsibility in this area? Does this not relate to individual sovereignty? “Mind your own business” – may be a logical retort from member-states criticized for their citizenship/nationality practices.

The Go Lean book relates an opening declaration that the Caribbean is in crisis and that these geographic neighbors must band together – confederate – to mitigate these common problems with superlative solutions, on the regional basis. This need was pronounced early in the book in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 10 – 14) with these statements:

Preamble: While the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle us to form a society and a brotherhood to foster manifestations of our hopes and aspirations and to forge solutions to the challenges that imperil us, … our rights to exercise good governance and promote a more perfect society are the natural assumptions among the powers of the earth, no one other than ourselves can be held accountable for our failure to succeed if we do not try to promote the opportunities that a democratic society fosters.

xi.  Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xxiii.    Whereas many countries in our region are dependent Overseas Territory of imperial powers, the systems of governance can be instituted on a regional and local basis, rather than requiring oversight or accountability from distant masters far removed from their subjects of administration. The Federation must facilitate success in autonomous rule by sharing tools, systems and teamwork within the geographical region.

xxiv.    Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book and blogs posit that the problems of the Caribbean are too big for any one member-state to tackle alone; rather there is the need for a regional technocratic solution; thus the CU. Only then can all 30 Caribbean member-states in the homeland be a better place to live, work and play for all of its stakeholders: 42 million residents; 80 million visitors; 10 million Diaspora; countless Foreign Direct Investors.

The CU, applying best-practices for advanced governance and agile deliveries would facilitate these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance, with consideration for minority equalization, to support these engines.

How exactly can the CU impact the citizenship/nationality practices in the region?

The Go Lean book, and previous blog/commentaries, stressed key community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies necessary to effect change in the region, to improve the regional stewardship over Caribbean society. They are detailed as follows:

Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development – Invited SGE’s Page 30
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision –  Integrate region into a Single Market Economy Page 45
Strategy – Mission –  Invite empowering immigrants for economic benefits Page 46
Strategy – Customers – Foreign Direct Investors Page 48
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Department of Justice Page 77
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Department of State – SGE’s & One Percent Liaison Page 80
Implementation – Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities – Ideal for FDI Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid – CariCom versus CU Page 115
Planning – 10 Big Ideas … in the Caribbean Region – Confederation without Sovereignty Page 127
Planning – Ways to Better Manage Image Page 133
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Guard against Encroachments Page 134
Planning – Ways to Measure Progress Page 147
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract – Failed-State Indices Movements Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Empowering Immigration – FDI Time, Talent & Treasuries Page 174
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice – Federal Accountability Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the One Percent Page 224
Appendix – Failed State Indicators and Definitions for the CU Page 271

All of the Caribbean needs to deal with these domestic issues … now! But some issues, due to image, public relations or quest for justice, should be managed with special care.

In the legal arena – juris prudence – there is an arrangement referred to as a Special Prosecutor. This allows for a detached, objective view of issues of Justice. (In the US for many decades, Naturalization and Citizenship processing was managed by the federal Department of Justice).

The Go Lean/CU roadmap has a similar proposed solution: facilitating the Proxy and e-Government processing at the CU level on behalf of member-states – thereby removing the subjectivity and bias to the citizenship/nationality process. Each state sets their criteria and the CU technocracy simply provides the processing, with full accountability and transparency; no appearance of bribery, corruption and creating eligible voters just in time for elections.  Already there is an eco-system with the issuance of CariCom passports. Step One/Day One of the Go Lean roadmap is the assembly of CariCom organs into the CU Trade Federation. Any one passport issued by a CariCom country is automatically respected by other CariCom countries.  So “mind your own business” cannot be considered a valid response.

If Caribbean people want change, progress, empowerment, growth, jobs, justice, security and equality, then this move of deputizing “nationality process” to the federal level is simply the “price that must be paid”.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This is Big Deal for the region as real solutions can finally be realized. Then we can present to the world that while the Caribbean homeland is Not For Sale, it is truly a better place to live, work, and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


# Appendix: Failed-State Indicators & Definitions

a. UED – Uneven Economic Development Along Group Lines

When there are ethnic, religious, or regional disparities or inequalities, governments tend to be uneven in their commitment to the social contract. There may be group-based inequality, or perceived inequality, in areas like education and economic opportunities. Uneven economic empowerments are manifest in group-based impoverishments as measured by poverty levels, infant mortality rates, educational levels, etc. The end result may be the rise of communal nationalism, based on real or perceived group inequalities.

This indicator include pressures and measures related to:

Income Share of Highest 10%; Income Share of Lowest 10%; Urban-Rural Service Distribution; Slum Population

b. FE – Rise of Factionalized Elites

When local and national leaders engage in deadlock and brinksmanship for political gain, this undermines the social contract. The brinkmanship may be expressed with nationalistic political rhetoric by ruling elites, often in terms of communal irredentism (e.g., a “greater Serbia” to annex neighboring lands with Serbian ethnics) or of communal solidarity (e.g., “ethnic cleansing” or “defending the faith”). With the absence of legitimate leadership widely accepted as representing the entire citizenry, the result may be fragmentation of ruling elites and state institutions along ethnic, class, clan, racial or religious lines.

This indicator include pressures and measures related to:

Power Struggles; Defectors; Flawed Elections; Political Competition.

$ Appendix VIDEO: Henley & Partners – The Firm of Global Citizens –

Published on May 7, 2014 – Henley & Partners is the global leader in residence and citizenship planning … The firm also runs an industry-leading government advisory practice.


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