HURRICANE RELIEF FUND – LEGAL, CONSTITUTIONAL AND FULLY FUNCTIONAL, SAYS PRIME MINISTER HARRIS

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 4, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Mr. Les Khan, used Tuesday’s (October 3) press conference to reiterate the rationale behind the introduction of a Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF) as a third investment option under St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).

Funds raised via this third investment option will help foot the over $150 million bill which the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis faces to rehabilitate key public infrastructure, which suffered damage during the passage of the two category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria.

Under this initiative, which will be for only six months, foreign investors under the CBI programme can make a non-refundable contribution of US$150,000.

“This price point is 50 percent higher – I repeat, 50 percent higher than the US$100,000 set by Dominica and St. Lucia for their donation option,” Prime Minister Harris emphasized.

“My Cabinet’s responsibility is to first and foremost look after the best interests of the people of our Federation and we are and will always be fulfilling this most sacred responsibility. The Hurricane Relief Fund is now fully operational with the proper constitutional and legal framework – and we would never have it otherwise. Always we will act within the ambit of the law and restrict our actions within the confines of what is permissible and available within the four walls of the Constitution,” Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris added, noting that the Hurricane Relief Fund is ready to do legitimate business.

The St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister mentioned that all three CBI options – the real estate option priced at US$400,000, the SIDF option priced at US$250,000 and the Hurricane Relief Fund priced at US$150,000 – will co-exist, as they each have their own market appeal.

Dr. Harris said, “There are some people who would want to go for the contribution option and there are some people who have different expectations regarding their investment, and for them a real estate option makes more sense. So they have their distinct market appeal. Every buyer will make a choice that best suits their particular preference at the moment in time.”

This point was further reinforced by the CEO of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, Mr. Khan, who reported that the real estate option, for example, is still an attractive investment option for potential investors.

“Since we announced the programme (the Hurricane Relief Fund), I’ve been privy to meeting a number of agents and clients on the island who are looking at the real estate option and they have not changed their minds. Their decisions have been to buy real estate and they have come to the island to decide which one it is. They have already taken into consideration the discounted factors in the other islands, the hurricane option [and] the SIDF option, so I think it’s a fallacy if somebody says that the real estate option is going to suffer as a result of this,” Mr. Khan stated.

The CIU Head noted that this sustained level of interest in the real option of the CBI programme is as a result of the steps taken by the Team Unity Government to bolster St. Kitts and Nevis’ programme as the platinum standard.

“When an individual decides to make a decision on real estate, he has already taken into consideration that Dominica is US$100,000 and if he wanted citizenship there he could have gone there [or] if he wanted St. Lucia at US$100,000 he could have gone to St. Lucia, if he wanted Grenada at $200,000 or Dominica at $250,000 he would have gone there. Our real estate market is a robust and solid market and it is one that we have, over the last year, come to brand as a platinum brand, so we have seen an increase in real estate investments.”

Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris also stressed that should the Hurricane Relief Fund be successful, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is prepared to again provide additional monetary support to the neighbouring islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

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