The opening address by the Prime Minister for St Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris."
In the midst of trending nationalism and country-centric agendas, never has there been a more necessary time for globally-minded nations to unite. This was the overriding message at the recent Caribbean Investment Summit, an event which attracted a strong regional audience, as well as expert stakeholders from around the world. The official theme Unity in the Age of Division: Emerging Trends of CIPs set the tone for robust and candid discussion on the investor immigration industry and its future.
As Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIPs) proliferate across the globe, attendees were treated to perspectives from where it all began, in St Kitts and Nevis, where the first government legislated citizenship by investment programme began in 1984. The Summit took place over four days from the 16 May, with more than 150 delegates attending the St Kitts Marriott Resort venue for a diverse mix of industry-related topics, followed by networking events at alternate function venues, showcasing the Federation’s luxury hospitality sector.
Delegates were treated to first-hand commentary from the highest levels of government, industry leaders in due diligence, real estate and cryptocurrency, as well as presentations from all five Caribbean CBI jurisdictions. International firms were able to network with local service providers, both gaining profound insight of their respective roles within the industry. The presentations were suitably fixed on current best practice within the industry, as well as how the industry can work collectively to achieve greater strength in service and delivery to the end client.
The Caribbean Investment Summit shed light on the challenges faced, and served as a knowledge exchange for stakeholders in the industry. Speakers delivered specialist presentations ranging from Transparency versus Confidentiality, Embracing New Technology for Better CIPs, to Creative Collaborative Communication, with relating panel discussions that further stimulated responses to these aspects of the industry.
Les Khan, Chair of the Citizenship by Investment Programmes Association (CIPA) and CEO of St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship Unit, spoke on The Caribbean Model for Unity, focussing on the strengthening relationships between the Caribbean second citizenship nations, and how this relationship may be applied to the wider citizenship industry. He argued that, through unity, greater initiatives can be applied to ensure the longevity of the programmes, while still adhering to the high standards of which the individual programmes have become known.
The area of due diligence played a significant role in the Summit’s schedule, with international speakers sharing the message that careful and rigorous procedures are integral in maintaining the reputation of nations and their offer of economic citizenship. As the industry continues to evolve, and more second citizenship programmes enter the marketplace around the world, the Caribbean will play a critical part in setting the standard as the birthplace of the industry. St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, echoed these sentiments in his welcome to delegates: “At the industry level, shifts in global markets have placed front and centre the heightened importance of programme adaptability and resilience, harmonised industry standards and regulatory compliance, due diligence and data protection.”
The question of new technologies, namely cryptocurrency, and how they fit within the remit of citizenship by investment also played a key part of discussion in looking at the threats and opportunities faced by the industry. Cryptocurrency, which has been a dominant trending industry discourse, was highlighted as a revolution in the CIPs frameworks that may soon come to fruition. However, as an unregulated digital currency, experts in the field of due diligence pointed out the potential risks and pitfalls that remain in applying the technology before the appropriate regulations have been set.
Jeffrey Tucker, a bitcoin advocate, spoke about the opportunities that exist on the blockchain, while due diligence expert Heyrick Bond Gunning, CEO of SRM, focussed on best practice in data management and approaches to mitigating the risks associated with information sharing.
The Caribbean Investment Summit is an annual event, hosted by CIP nations within the region, designed to foster ongoing discourse on best practices, challenges and the opportunities available that will ultimately fuel and drive investment in the Caribbean.