In a recent radio interview, the opposition leader for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Dr Godwin Friday, discussed his party’s plan to create a Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) if they are able to form a majority government. Dr Friday dismissed concerns raised by the OECD about CIPs being used to avoid paying taxes. “You have to make sure the administration of [CIPs] is done with the utmost integrity and transparency.” He went on to say that “any program that we administer here in St Vincent and the Grenadines will meet those standards.”

Dr. Friday noted that other countries like Saint Kitts and Nevis have been able to cut their public debt by attracting investment funds through CIPs. He said that it is important to focus the CIP investments on “strategic economic development programs and capital projects that will generate growth for the country so that you don’t have a situation where you are continuously dependent.” He said that creating a CIP for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines could help preserve a business-friendly environment while keeping taxes low for the country’s residents.

Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the current Prime Minister for SVG, has repeatedly stated that he is opposed to establishing a CIP. This issue may receive another look in SVG during the country’s upcoming elections. The Prime Minister is required to call for a general election before the end of December 2020.

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