Caribbean: A recently published Human Rights report by the US State Department has turned the political environment upside down in the Caribbean region after the report stated there is a “lack of transparency” in the Citizenship by Investment Programmes of some countries. Moreover, it has allegedly called Antigua and Barbuda’s media as non-independent.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne showed his objection by stating US diplomats are not doing enough to promote relations between the Caribbean region and the United States.
Besides Antigua and Barbuda, the report alleged that there is a lack of transparency in the Citizenship by Investment Programme of Dominica and lack of financial transparency in the CBIP of St Kitts and Nevis. The report made the declarations by quoting the opposition parties’ allegations and local media of the respective countries.
Not to mention that the opposition leader of Dominica Lennox Linton was a radio presenter and a full-time journalist before entering politics. Linton’s work associations signify his relations with local media of the country and reveal how easily the media can be manipulated by those who once held a position in the field for many years.
In terms of accreditation, the Citizenship by Investment Programmes in questions holds awards from Financial Times, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), CBI Index, Professional Wealth Magazine (PWM), Smith and Williamson, Ernst & Young, and even UK Queen’s Counsel had applauded the CBI Programme of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, particularly for its transparency.
Not only that, independent firms like Ernst & Young and Smith and Williamson, presented comprehensive, transparent information about the Citizenship by Investment Programme and taxation systems of Caribbean nations, including St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.
The credibility of the Human Rights report is in question because of the lack of background research and information on the allegations being made. As it is eminent how the opposition parties are often against current governments’ operations and taking their non-factual considerations, no questions shall be raised.