Nationals of some countries will be restricted from applying for citizenship under the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme, while some who were turned down by other countries will also find themselves automatically getting turned down by Grenada.
A bearer of Grenada’s passport can travel visa free to 133 countries, and Parliamentary Secretary for Information in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Winston Garraway, explained that among the questions that will be asked of all applicants, is the countries where he/she has applied for citizenship and whether or not he/she was rejected.
“Once that person answers yes or we have proof that the applicant was turned down by a counter to which we have visa free travel, we will also reject that person,” Garraway said, who explained that like St Kitts and Nevis recently did, Grenada will also be establishing a list of countries whose nationals will be not able to apply for citizenship under the programme. St Kitts recently suspended nationals of Afghanistan and Iran from its programme.
Grenada first established an economic citizenship programme in 2001, but rescinded the initiative because of number of challenges. which included abuse by agents and the lack of in-depth due diligence, which resulted in criminals from other countries becoming citizens of the countries, allowing them to have a Grenada passport.
However, Garraway said that in depth due diligence will be concluded on all applicants, and as compared to the last programme, becoming a citizen will be not an immediate achievement. “The due diligence that was lacking in the previous programme is no longer an issue. No stone will be left unturned and all applicants have to mandatorily reside in the island for at least 14 days after getting citizenship,” he said.
The Citizenship by Investment Programme is one of the initiatives that the ruling Keith Mitchell Administration believes can bring in millions in revenue to the country. However, a number of organizations and individuals have openly objected to the idea.
Among the persons objecting is Senator Raymond Roberts, who described the legislation as “prostituting” the island’s passport.
By Linda Straker