Former St. Kitts and Nevis government minister and lawyer Dwyer Astaphan is labelling reports of reduced payments for St. Kitts and Nevis passports as “an affront to public conscience” and a “blatant and brazen breach of the law.”
“Most of the money goes to the developer and the agent and we as a country are left with nothing,” Astaphan is quoted in the feature as saying.
Astaphan’s comments come in apparent relation to a feature authored by Jen Schulz.
“St Kitts and Nevis under pressure as CEO of unit Les Khan fails to effectively discipline offending agents,” the author noted that last month, scandal hit St. Kitts and Nevis, several International Marketing Agents, sub-agents, and developers were found to have been promoting economic citizenship of the Federation for prices far below those required by law.
Given the magnitude of this breach of trust, and of the law, on the part of agents and developers, one might expect a robust response on the part of the Government and Citizenship by Investment Unit.
Another local lawyer Charles Wilkin QC, proposed a more forceful response: “After due investigation, the government should withdraw the (citizenship by investment designation and all fiscal incentives granted to any developer who is found to have abused the programme.”
Mark Brown, a former Nevis school teacher, ascribes the recent scandal, and the Government’s failure to take adequate action, to a lack of strong leadership. “Mr Khan became the Head of our Unit after his previous employer, IPSA International, was hired to review and improve the Programme. He had no previous experience managing a Government institution – and certainly not one as important to a country as the Unit is to our own,” he said.
“All that an economic citizenship programme requires is good governance. In Dominica, over the past three years, the Government has used revenue from the Programme to rebuild homes and infrastructure, and it is now doing so in line with a vision for future sustainability and climate resilience. Skerrit’s Dominica is one that has seen improvement in real estate and in housing for the vulnerable – in ways that St Kitts and Nevis has not,” Brown opined.