KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) on Tuesday said “it is only fair that the Prime Minister give details of when he started to dole out passports in recognition of investment.”
The NDP in a press statement said that party leader and Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace “quite rightly asked the Prime Minister to indicate how many passports he has given to foreign investors to this Country since he became Prime Minister.”
Eustace’s statement came as Buccama Bay Resorts Investor David Ames in recent interview with Searchlight newspaper “boasted that he is a citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
“… it is only fair that the Prime Minister give details of when he started to dole out passports in recognition of investment,” the NDP said of Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who said that he and his Unity Labour Party administration is opposed to an economic citizenship programme here.
“We are not suffering from amnesia; we remember the frantic call by the Prime Minister during the election that the NDP would be selling passports.
“The hue and cry came from the ULP during the elections, after the Hon. Arnhim Eustace spoke about investigating a properly run Economic Citizenship programme with stringent due diligence, opening the opportunity for scrupulous investors in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to benefit from their investment in the country,” the NDP said.
“Eustace explained, ‘We agree with Gonsalves that what he is doing in gifting passports to David Ames did not happen [as] part of a properly regulated and investigated economic citizenship programme.
“’What Gonsalves has been practicing is surely something else, which he must explain to the people of Saint Vincent … even as David Ames and his various Companies face no less than ten High Court Law Suits from Investors and Contractors involved in the Buccama Bay Resorts’,” the NDP’s press statement quoted Eustace as saying.
“We wait to see what due diligence would uncover about the Buccama Bay Project and its principals. The Prime Minister must be required to explain to Vincentians what background checks were done prior to the gifting of the passport and citizenship to David Ames,” the party further quoted its leader as saying.