Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 30, 2016 (SKNIS): Owing to the challenges faced by the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, there was a need to re-engineer, reorganize and recalibrate the programme, thus allowing it to attract investors of good character to make a substantial contribution to the development of the Federation.
Les Khan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), said that during the 2013-2014 period volume within the application process was significant, hence the reasons for the changes. He explained that changes firstly took place within the Unit which now boasts of a management team of very experienced and qualified persons.
[We have] “Individuals with varying backgrounds who add to our process of decision making and [who] make it much more solid and all encompassing,” said the CEO. “We have streamlined our operations; we have put a system into production and this is the first workflow system in Citizenship by Investment Programmes in the world. So as a leader in the programme, here is St. Kitts and Nevis again leading on the technology front.”
Mr. Khan noted that the system was implement last year and 100 percent of the service providers are using the system. He added that the system allows the service providers to input applications as they get them and within a very short time frame – about 2 days, they receive acknowledgement from the unit.
“So we can track the applications as they come in from a service provider. We know what they are working on and we can also track them through our department and this is where workflow becomes a very critical factor for us to become more efficient,” he said. “By putting in the system, making the changes, adding more due diligence providers allows us to handle the volumes as they come in. Again, changes in the department in terms of how we vet applications allow us to have checks and counter checks in our process.
The CEO said that during the period of recalibration, other programmes in the region such as in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Dominica took the opportunity to promote themselves, noting that the local CBI Programme could not have been promoted because reforms were being made to the process.
“We took that time to make the changes and there were lots of other changes that were implemented. We established a technical committee, for example, for denied files, which need to then address a backlog of files,” he said, adding that there were 1600 outstanding files during the period the unit was being restructured. “We had to address these and as a result of that build back confidence with our service providers. We also changed the model of engagement to ensure that everyone knew they were part of our process – the client, the agent, the developer, the service provider and at the end of it the whole department that is servicing this entity.”
He noted that although the CBI Programme was at a low during the restructuring period, getting the unit to function as a team and to be more professional and service oriented was a key driver. Mr. Khan added that this afforded him the opportunity to be confident whenever he traveled overseas to promote the CBI Programme, as the unit had done what it had to do to get the programme back up and running.