Optimism returns to the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, after a strict but effective handling of the outbreak on the twin islands. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Timothy Harris addressed the nation on the occasion of the dissolution of Parliament, as expected after the 5-year mandate tenure by Team Unity. He highlighted several socio-economic initiatives made possible thanks to the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme.
Foreign investors have been contributing to the government fund under the CBI Programme, rewarded with the country’s citizenship in return. While it does not require minimum residence from applicants, the Programme replaces this with multi-tiered security checks. The country ramped up its due diligence processes and will soon include biometric data. In 2018, PM Harris introduced the Sustainable Growth Fund as the fastest route to citizenship from St Kitts and Nevisand a way to support key social and economic areas to benefit residents.
“We are proud of our spectacular performance in tourism development, the build out of our ICT sector, advancement in education and healthcare especially the provision for the first time of a Cancer Treatment Unit at the J. N. F. Hospital and our mental health day care facility,” said PM Harris. “We undertook the most significant public sector investment in our country’s history. The construction of the second cruise pier, the [EC]$69 million resurfacing of the island main road, also the reconstruction of the Old Road Bay,” PM Harris added. “We also introduced the Poverty Alleviation Programme and pay a monthly stipend of [EC]$500 to over 4,000 households earning less than [EC]$3,000 per month,” said the Prime Minister.
Another success made possible with CBI funding was supporting the cruise sector. The day before addressing the nation on dissolving the Parliament, PM Harris said during a radio show: “Under Team Unity, we experienced remarkable geometric growth in our tourism […] where twice in a row we hit the one millionth [passenger] mark in terms of cruise arrivals.” Foreign Minister Mark Brantley previously estimated that CBI makes up for around a fifth of the country’s GDP.
On Friday, the PM expressed optimism for the country, saying that “it’s onward and upward to a bright future.” Detailing his vision for St Kitts and Nevis’ path to continue the growth momentum, Prime Minister Harris said he wants to empower more young people, develop the agricultural sector, support growth in farming and fisheries, bring more cutting-edge ICT to the island, resume tourism growth and keep up the fiscal policies that catapulted St Kitts and Nevis to the “best in the region.”
Despite being the smallest nation in the Western Hemisphere, St Kitts and Nevis citizens benefit from widespread visa-free access, a stable economic and political climate, sound rule of law and a secure, investor-friendly environment. Successful CBI applicants can also pass down their citizenship to future generations.