Dwyer Astaphan, who once held the post of National Security has warned that the removal by the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government of the three-year waiting period before citizenship can be granted to non-nationals marrying a St Kitts and Nevis national, could not only result in financial transactions or marriages of convenience, but has implications for other OECS countries as well as the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
He was at the time speaking on the radio show “The Rebuttal” with Douglas Wattley.
Astaphan alleged that over 200 persons queued up outside the Ministry of National Security last Wednesday, in attempt their papers to get citizenship by marriage. He claimed that a marriage racket is going on in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Astaphan also branded it as a way to get “political points” and suggested that the Office of the Ministry on National Security was not practicing due diligence in relation to marriages for citizenship.
Astaphan noted that there are implications for other countries in the OECS because all citizens of St Kitts and Nevis can travel and reside.
He pointed out that under the Citizenship by Investment Programme persons can gain citizenship but with the removal of the three year waiting period a potential investor instead of purchasing a condo for US$400,000 or US$200,000 can pay a national US$5,000 to get married.
“You can become a citizen for US$10,000 and would not have to spend all that money. It could have an impact on the CBI programme if the measure is not properly done,” said Astaphan.