An opposition MP has accused the government of collecting money for economic citizenship even as it officially remains opposed to such a programme.
Daniel Cummings, MP for West Kingstown, levelled the accusation against the Ralph Gonsalves government on Thursday during the New Democratic Party’s “Ring De Bell” rally in Kingstown.
Cummings said the NDP, through its president, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, has been pushing for an economic citizenship programme for years, “because Mr. Eustace knows how critical it is to look for alternative forms of financing for government”.
Under an economic citizenship programme, persons are granted citizenship, having invested a certain amount of money in that country.
The Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party government has repeatedly expressed opposition to economic citizenship programmes, saying that it could open a window to criminal elements to become Vincentians.
“We now have neighbouring St. Lucia going head fast into it,” Gonsalves said, adding that big countries also have economic citizenship programmes.
“But here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, how many persons have gained citizenship and passports under ULP and how much money has been paid to the treasury or into somebody’s pocket for it?” Cummings said.
“They don’t want to tell us, but we will find out. We know a lot of money passing for them citizenship, but we don’t know where the money going…” Cummings said.