St Kitts-Nevis new citizenship fund raises more questions

BASSETERRE, St Kitts — Former Cabinet minister Dwyer Astaphan has raised more questions about the recently announced “Hurricane Relief Fund” (HRF), which offers St Kitts and Nevis citizenship to successful applicants in exchange for a contribution of US$150,000, sharply reduced from the contributions hitherto required.

The St Kitts and Nevis government has issued a number of contradictory press statements on the issue, first of all claiming that the required total contribution remained the same, namely, US$250,000 for a single applicant and US$300,000 for a family of four to be paid into the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), with a “proportion” going to the new HRF.

Then, in a notice to agents, it stated that the new contribution requirement of $150,000 would be paid to the new fund as a third investment option, with no reference to the SIDF.

Most recently, the government said that an as yet undisclosed “proportion” of the $150,000 payment would be placed in the new hurricane fund but has so far failed to answer questions as to the exact amount of this “proportion” or where the remaining funds would be paid.

“Ordinarily, in an application for citizenship under the SIDF option once approval is obtained, I am told that the money is paid into the SIDF escrow account at National Bank and SIDF pays all government administrative fees which can run between $50,000 and over $100,000 dollars per transaction depending on the number of people in the application.

“I am told that for the time being with regard to the Hurricane Relief Fund, the arrangement will be the same, in other words the arrangement will be for the funds to be sent via the Citizenship by Investment Unit into the same SIDF escrow account at the National Bank until a different and separate system is arranged for the Hurricane Relief Fund,” Astaphan told WINN FM.

He also asked about the relationship between the HRF and the SIDF.