by Linda Straker
- Applicant original nationality will not determine outcome of successful application
- CBI programme currently open to Russians
- As of October, Government’s CBI revenue was EC$375,269,871
Adrian Thomas, Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, said that Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) is open to every individual, and the original nationality of an applicant will not determine the outcome of a successful application.
“The programme is open for everybody whether you are Chinese, whether you are Russian, whether you are African, the first thing this administration sees is a human being. We don’t cut you to see what blood runs through your veins whether it is African blood, Chinese blood or Russian blood,” Thomas told members in the Upper House as he contributed to the debate for the 2024 Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure or the budget.
“We are here to bring benefits to our people, and the CBI programme is a programme we are going to utilise.” Thomas informed the House on 13 December, that approximately 6 international agencies are conducting due diligence on CBI projects, developers and individual applicants.
“The CBI programme is such a successful programme being run under strict leadership, strict management, we have about 5 or 6 international organisations doing our due diligence…When we approve any CBI project or any CBI developer, or anybody who wants to be part of the CBI programme, rest assured Grenadians that we are doing due diligence,” said Thomas.
His announcement that the CBI programme is currently open to Russians came 8 months after Grenada announced that 31 March was the last date for Russians to apply for citizenship through the programme. As of 1 April 2023, the country stopped accepting applications from Russia and Belarus for the programmes. These 2 countries join North Korea, Iran, and Palestine as states banned from participating in Grenada’s CBI programme.
Grenada agreed to stop accepting these applications to comply with a request from the US following the 25 February 2023 historic US-Caribbean Roundtable on Citizenship by Investment was held in Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis.
At that meeting, the participating countries approved 6 principles for going forward, which include suspending applications from Russia and Belarus to the CBI programme and not processing applications from individuals whose applications have been denied in another CBI jurisdiction by proactively sharing information on denials.
During a public forum in November, Dr Wayne Sandiford, CBI committee member, disclosed that most of the people who gained Grenada citizenship through CBI for 2023 were Russian nationals. As of October, Government’s revenue from the programme was EC$375,269,871, surpassing the projected amount of EC$240,461,920 for fiscal year 2023.
According to data from the Ministry of Finance, the National Transformation Fund, or Section 10 of the legislation, had EC$169,274,810, while the contribution from approved projects, or Section 11 of the legislation, was EC$138,965,242. The Government earned EC$67,029,820 from fees associated with the programme.
Grenada was the only OECS territory with a CBI programme accepting applications from nationals of Russia and Belarus and, as a result, received hundreds of applications after announcing that 31 March would be the final date for accepting applications from these jurisdictions.
“It was a windfall,” said one local agent who submitted hundreds of applications for approval.
Grenada launched its CBI programme in 2014 after approving the legislation in 2013 and, to date, has gained over 11,000 new citizens. The revenue earned is used for Government’s capital projects general budgetary support, of which 10% is saved in a rainy-day fund established at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). According to Finance Minister Dennis Cornwall, that account currently has EC$19 million.