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Posted: Thursday 10 November, 2022 at 3:18 PM

Laborious task ahead for Dr. Douglas on Blacklisting

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - TACKLING the issue of Blacklisting would be among the top priorities for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Denzel Douglas, when he seeks to represent the Federation at international forums.


    That position was highlighted by the Federation’s lead diplomat during an interview with SKNVibes, as concerns are being raised by some CARICOM member states that the European Union shifting goal post on policy initiatives is making it unfair for them to without being blacklisted. 


    The issue was thrust into the spotlight when Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis raised concerns at the United Nations General Assembly back in September that there is growing evidence that mostly black economies are being targeted. 


    Dr. Douglas explained that he would use his platform and the long experience with the Citizenship By Investment programme and within government to respond appropriately to growing concerns surrounding threats to the Federation’s economic stability and its economic programme.


    In the case of the CBI programme, there has been growing concerns internationally that the programme, which benefits small island developing states like St. Kitts and Nevis, is being phased out at the request of the EU and the United States.


    “There is no question in our minds that we must pay closer attention to those who become citizens, not only in St. Kitts and Nevis but the entire Eastern Caribbean countries which are part of the CBI family,” the Foreign Minister emphasized.


    No one Eastern Caribbean country is at fault for calls for the EU to have programmes phased out or phase visa withdrawals.  


    “We need to ensure that the concerns of the Europeans, who as you would know, the enormous owed wages and salary taxes that persons are not seeking become citizens to avoid paying taxes in their own countries,” noted Douglas.


    New mechanisms are being put in place to prevent that from happening as the Government is now partnering with regional agencies to strengthen the screening mechanisms.


    Attorney General Garth Wilkin revealed at the Prime Minister’s October Press Conference that the Federation has agreed to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Risk Trends and Methods on money laundering in connection with the citizenship.


    That, Wilkins noted, would allow the Federation to get into the good books of the FATF officials, since it was recommended by the regional arm of the international agency to have that done.


    “...because it will provide St. Kitts and Nevis the opportunity to directly explain how its programme works and the AML, Anti-money Laundering measures that are in place. If there are gaps within our system, we will be alerted. And based on discussions with the project team, we will be able to make relevant input on the way forward,“ disclosed Wilkin.


    Over the last several years, St. Kitts and Nevis has been working to sure-up its CBI programme by including more due diligence initiatives to ensure that illicit actors do not become economic citizens and put the programme under threat. 


    It has also worked to provide more legislation for its safety.


    Outside of the CBI programmes and potential threats from the EU, there are other legislative frameworks that governments are being asked to update, almost on an annual basis, even though others are being worked upon. 


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