By Toni Frederick
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- Are economic citizens of St Kitts and Nevis able to register to vote? Lawyer and politician Lindsay Grant claims that they can, and have. Grant’s law firm is one of the service providers of the citizenship by investment (CBI) programme and he told WINN FM that there is nothing to differentiate passports issued through the CBI and one issued to a person born in the federation.
A guest on WINN FM’s Voices programme, Grant, a candidate for the opposition People’s Action Movement, also charged that children born to persons who are already economic citizens are eligible to citizenship by descent.
WINN FM was unable to get clarification from the supervisor of elections Wingrove George, who said he has nothing whatsoever to say to WINN FM. After one request for an interview and two requests for a comment on electoral office procedures, he accused the station of harassment.
However, WINN FM has spoken to another electoral official who has denied Grant’s claims that economic citizens have registered to vote. The official said that persons registering to vote are required to note their place of birth on the voter registration form and if they are not born in the federation would have to meet other residency requirements.
In an interview with WINN FM last December, Chris Kalin, the head of the Global Residence and Citizenship Practices Group (Henley and Partners), most persons who obtain St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship through its citizenship by investment programme are unlikely to choose to take up residence in the federation. Henley and Partners is the leading agency marketing the country’s citizenship programme.
Addressing concerns that too many new citizens may influence the political process in the country, Kalin said the handful of new citizens who may choose to live in St Kitts and Nevis are unlikely to be interested in local politics.
The country’s citizenship by investment programme has been under international scrutiny in recent weeks, triggered by an advisory from the US Treasury warning that passports acquired by Iranians through the CBI have been used in the commission of financial crimes.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network