Caribbean

Saint Kitts Establishes “Continuing Due Diligence Unit” Headquartered in Europe


The Kittitian government last week announced in Parliament that it would establish a Continuing International Due Diligence (CIDD) Unit to monitor its citizens by investment on an ongoing basis to ensure they continue to meet the ethical standards that allowed them to obtain citizenship in the Federation to begin with.

The CIDD, said Prime Minister Terrance Drew during Friday’s sitting in Parliament where the assembly debated amendments to the country’s Citizenship by Investment Act, would “ensure that citizens holding passports issued by St Kitts & Nevis and residing and working internationally, abide by the laws of the countries in which they reside and visit and that they respect the international laws as well.”

The Unit, he explained, would “alert the Ministry of National Security of Saint Kitts & Nevis citizens who are being investigated for committing, or have been arrested and/or charged with, financial or other crimes internationally.”

The initiative, said the Prime Minister, would help protect the Federation’s reputation on the international stage and was a reflection of the ernest intent his government had to “ensure that we engender confidence in our international partners that we are are serious about their security as well.”

Mr Ian M Queeley, the OECS’ ambassador to Morocco and former Police Commissioner in Saint Kitts & Nevis, will lead the new Unit, which, according to Loop News, will be headquartered in Europe.

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Ongoing due diligence on already-approved applicants was among the terms agreed to in the pan-Caribbean Memorandum of Agreement signed by four out of five of the region’s CBI country prime ministers in March. The MoA also included provisions for a joint price floor of US$200,000, information sharing, equal treatment of applicants, and other aims meant to harmonize the region’s programs while mollifying the concerns raised by the EU and the US. Saint Lucia, the region’s only CBI country to initially refrain from signing, has also signaled its intent to ratify the accord, though their signature has yet to be confirmed.

The MoA is slated to take effect on June 30th and, while Grenada’s CBI-boss Thomas Anthony has indicated he expects to be ready for implementation by then, other industry observers believe the Caribbean governments will need more time to coordinate their policies.

The contents of the MoA also correspond closely to the “Six CBI Principles” that all Caribbean CBI countries agreed to with the United States Treasury in March last year.

Another element of the revised CBI Act was the decision to establish the Saint Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) as a separate corporate entity. Until now, the CIU has been a department within the MInistry of National Security, Immigration, and Citizenship, the financial oversight of which has rested with the Prime Minister’s Office.

Citing “glaring instances of mismanagement” of the CBI program under the former administration, PM Drew emphasized the importance of making the CIU an independent, statutory corporation. Going forward as a corporation in its own right, the CIU will have perpetual succession and a common seal, and will also be able to sue (or be sued) in its corporate name.

The establishment of the CIU has a separate entity had been among the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations from a report last year.

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