CIP commission coming

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Leaders within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have agreed to the establishment of a commission to govern the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
In an interview with OBSERVER media yesterday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said discussions are under way with the regional leaders about the programme which has been at the centre of much controversy and scrutiny.
“We have held discussions with the various leaders within the OECS, and they have all agreed it’s now for the technicians to put the logistics together to ensure there is full cooperation and harmonisation going forward,” the Prime Minister said.
He added that there will be a position paper to be discussed at the OECS level. This will be followed by a meeting of the regional body before a final determination is made on the way forward.
The Prime Minister’s statement came after the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), in a release to the media, reminded him of his call for a regional commission for the CIP. Joanne Massiah, leader of the DNA, said the committee is needed for governments of the region to work collaboratively to avoid a price war.
However, PM Browne said details of the level of collaboration and cooperation must first be finedtuned before they take effect.
“These things do not happen overnight, and when you are dealing with like five different countries, it will take some time to materialise,” said Prime Minister Browne.
In the meantime, the major opposition parties have criticised the government’s move to reduce the processing fees for the CIP passports.
Senator Damani Tabor, Public Relations Officer for the United Progressive Party, said in a release that the decrease will have a negative effect on the programme.
“The decision by the ABLP to lower the processing fees will ignite a price war, jeopardise and accelerate the decline of the CIP programme across the region, and eliminate the chance of restoring visa-free access to Canada,” said Tabor.
The DNA has labelled the markdown as a deception ploy by the government.
“The CIP remains a vexing issue for a majority of the public, yet the government has refused to listen to our concerns and recommendations,” said Massiah. “The DNA views the purported justification [for the markdown] as nothing more than the government’s ongoing practice to deceive the country again.”

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