Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel in Hong Kong, China (Hong Kong S.A.R.).
November 7-8, 2016
It is a real pleasure for me to be here in Hong Kong and for me to have the opportunity to share with you key innovations that we have recently implemented in the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme. I am proud to say that St Kitts and Nevis is the longest running and best known Programme, with over 10,000 economic citizens. A significant number coming from the the Asian region.
Last year I promised you we were in the process of reform. We have completed these reforms. Today I want to speak to the benefits of our successful reform efforts.
In order to meet the evolving needs of investors and to support agents, service providers and developers we have put in place measures to position our Citizenship by Investment Programme at a platinum standard.
We recognised the need for a more responsive approach whilst ensuring a robust due diligence infrastructure. To this end we have implemented some enhancements to our programme that sets us apart from the crowd.
We have launched our VIP Accelerated Application Process which now means that we can guarantee that an application will be processed within 60 days. But in fact, for this region, we are ensuring that the turnaround time is 45 days for VIP applications.
It should be noted that with the changes made to the program turnaround times have much improved with the majority of applications being processed within 90 days.
In order to support this process and to ensure high standards of integrity in our programme, we have established a Technical Committee to strengthen the vetting process. We have increased the team and expanded on their expertise in order to deliver this platinum service.
As part of our reforms we have introduced a case management system that allows us to track the progress of each application from entry to completion 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Equally, service providers can upload their applications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The CAMS has been working excellently for over a year. We are now also moving away from the antiquated hard copy of the application forms as these will soon be available in PDF format.
We have also created the opportunity for International Marketing Agents to be part of this success story. They too can now benefit from commissions paid on the contributions to the Federation’s sugar fund. We will be providing more details on this in the coming weeks.
Why invest in St Kitts and Nevis you may ask.
We have an excellent track record in attracting the discerning investor and have developed an incomparable body of experience in pursuing real estate and donation options under this Programme.
Some of these developments that we attracted include such prestigious brands as :
1. Park Hyatt
2. Embassy Suites by Hilton
3. Radisson by T-Loft
5. Royal St Kitts Beach Resort
All have substantial investment in real estate programmes and you will shortly hear more about this type of investment from two developers. Suffice it to say that investors in our real estate receive not only good value for their money, but significant returns on their investment through rental income and management fees.
Our Programme is designed for the discerning investor who wants to be part of a democratic, progressive and well managed state. Our economic growth has been among the best in the world. And an IMF report released last month projected that we will continue to be one of the best global performers at approximately 3.5% in 2017. Few of the OECD countries are expected to perform at this level.
But our story does not end here. As the platinum brand, and the innovative leader in this program, we continue to enhance our investment options to include Alternative Energy, Social Development, Heritage, Culture, entertainment and infrastructure development. This was approved by my cabinet most recently.
In addition, St. Kitts and Nevis has the fastest growing tourism sector in the Caribbean with visitors exceeding the I Million mark (200 times the population of the country). This is an excellent performance.
Our growth is not only based on tourism, but is considered one of the most diversified in the region with a viable export/manufacturing sector providing light bulbs and aviation parts to the EU, UK and USA. We have, for several years been the largest exporter of merchandise to the USA among Barbados and OECS countries.
We are punching our way forward. This little nation, rich in history and culture, goes beyond Sand and Sea.
As a Country with an above average economic performance, with robust frameworks in place and a land of outstanding beauty, we really are an attractive proposition.
St Kitts and Nevis introduced the economic investor programme as a pathway to citizenship in 1984. Thirty-two (32) years later we have a programme of which we can be proud. We are the founders of the economic investor programs. Every other programme has been an adaptation of our original programme. Ours is the most resilient and has longevity and distinction.
Importantly, we have a Country of which every citizen can be proud. We are big on democracy, low on tax, no death tax, nor estate tax, no personal income tax, above average economic growth, a society that values investment. This is the Country I am inviting you to be part of, to contribute to its growth and to enjoy its irresistible beauty.