CBI programme adopts use of secure online platform

by Linda Straker

  • In the first quarter of 2020, applications were 25% above 2019 figures
  • Grenada’s CBI Programme not on hold because of Covid pandemic
  • CBI programme is an avenue for economic development and revenue to government

Grenada is anticipating a slowdown in the receipt of applications for its Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) due to the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This will not necessarily translate into a decrease in the overall number of applications since we expect to see an improvement in the fourth quarter of 2020 and into the first quarter of 2021,” said Press Secretary, Philomena Robinson.

“In the first quarter of 2020, applications were 25% above 2019 figures, largely spurred by the major projects in St David and St Patrick,” she said, explaining that Grenada’s CBI office continues to receive and process applications. “There is also continued marketing engagement with the international community through webinars and other means.”

The management team of Grenada’s CBI programme, which received a little more than 100 applications for the first quarter of 2020, recently agreed and approved for new applications to be submitted online using a specially designed secure website that will eliminate the use of paper documents.

“We have restructured our programme to online systems where we accept the applications and process them efficiently, effectively and timely,” said Percival Clouden, CEO of the Citizenship by Investment Unit.

“Grenada’s CBI Programme is not on hold because of the Covid pandemic. We are working remotely. We are making use of technology on a new platform that allows us to receive, process and make a decision in collaboration with all local and international agents as well with the relevant due diligence agencies,” Clouden said in an exclusive interview.

“The CBI programme is an avenue for economic development, it will provide jobs and it will bring revenue to government,” said Clouden who acknowledge that the current world situation with the Covid-19 Pandemic has slowdown or halt some projects.

Since Grenada declared a state of emergency on 25 March as part of measures to restrict the movement of citizens to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the regulations mandate that all construction projects cease.

Grenada’s CBI programme which falls under the Office of the Prime Minister, has provided millions in revenue to government since it began in late 2013. For the quarter covering the period October to December 2019 a total of EC$17,553,917 were paid to treasury according to data about the programme shared on the Ministry of Finance website.

Government received EC$11,626,465 from application process under Section 10 of the CBI law and EC$5,927,452 under Section 11 of the law. Section 10 is the for applicants who choose to pay a fee to the National Transformation Fund, while Section 11 is for a fee by investing in government-approved projects.

Explaining that it’s a very significant source of revenue, Clouden said that the unit will not shut down the programme but will be work with all its partners to ensure that all persons approved comply with all the requirements to gain Grenada’s citizenship.

More than 400 persons were approved by the CBI Committee in 2019 and at the same time almost 100 had applications deny. No public reasons were given for the denial, but it is understood that an application can be denied because of red flags identified during the due diligence process.

Red flags include applying for citizenship in other countries with similar programmes and being denied or having it revoked after it was approved, changing names in violation of the legal process in the country of origins or residence as well as conflict with law enforcement authorities.

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