CBI has nothing to do with selling passports – Bacchus-Baptiste
Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes have nothing to do with the selling of passports says a candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP)
“Citizenship by Investment, any S in that?” Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, the NDP candidate for West St George asked supporters of the NDP on Wednesday in Marriaqua.
“Where Gonsalves get selling from?” she said, referring to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, political leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP).
The NDP has based their election campaign around the promise of jobs and their intention to introduce CBI to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The ULP is vehemently against CBI and has stated that under a ULP government, this country would never embark on programmes of this nature.
But Bacchus-Baptiste said on Wednesday night, “Any S in Citizenship by Investment? My people I want every one of you here tonight to multiply this message; Gonsalves and the ULP, they are dead, they have no message, they cannot do anything more for you.
“They are dead. So what are they trying to do? Bad mind. They are trying to pull you down. They trying to sell you rumours and lies hoping that they could get another term,” Bacchus-Baptiste declared.
She said the NDP has never said that they are going to sell passports.
“Never, that is not what it is. We said Citizenship by Investment,” she stressed while noting what this means is that a person has to qualify, invest, apply and if they pass, “all the tests, then, they can get a passport.”
Bacchus-Baptiste said that persons must not believe “the cheapness that Gonsalves is pushing down your throat because he is aware that this programme will lift you out of poverty.”
Bacchus-Baptiste will come up against the ULP’s Curtis King in the November 5 poll.
She said CBI programmes are working in other countries of the region and why would it not work in SVG.
Recently, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves said the upcoming General Elections is about many things, including stopping the NDP from taking the country down the CBI path.
He told listeners at a virtual rally that CBI is a lazy, unimaginative and baseless mantra masquerading as a plan.
“In our region, multiple banks have refused to touch passport money, terminating CBI ties and dropping passport business from their portfolio” Gonsalves commented while noting that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says passports selling contributes to a country’s reputational risk that can damage corresponding banking relationships.
He noted also that the IMF has described CBI and its inflows as “volatile”, meaning that it is liable to change rapidly and unpredictably especially for the worse.
He noted that if you scratch the surface of the NDP’s “passport paradises”, you will see “ghost towns of dilapidated buildings built by unscrupulous hit and run investors”, and the European Union (EU) and the OECD are tightening the screws on passport selling programmes, while they have already said they would attack it as a vehicle of tax avoidance and criminality.
But Bacchus-Baptiste said on Wednesday that there is a big difference between investment and selling and there is presently a provision under the Citizenship Act to give passports to non-Vincentians.
“… Don’t let them fool you, don’t let them rob you of your victory, don’t let them rob you of your salvation which is awaiting for you the 5th of November this year,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.
She said also that the NDP knows nothing about the SCL, a group repeatedly referred to by the Prime Minister.
He said the NDP is using the services of the successors to the SCL in the management of their campaign.
The “SCL” mentioned is believed to be Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL Group)/Cambridge Analytica, an entity known for using “mind bending” techniques to influence the outcome of elections around the world.
Gonsalves claimed recently that these persons are on the ground here in SVG and are tapping phones and engaging in other activities to sway voters.
He opined that these foreigners are only interested in defeating the ULP in order to introduce a CBI programme here.