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Carey proposes citizenship-for-investment model

A leading real estate broker is pushing for the government to consider implementing an economic citizenship model for The Bahamas that would require high-net-worth individuals to invest at least $750,000 in the purchase of a property and $1 million to a fund of the government’s choosing, outside of the consolidated fund.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate MCR Bahamas Group owner Mario Carey said in a press release yesterday that the economic citizenship model could lift The Bahamas’ economy “from the doldrums”.

Carey thinks this country could become a model citizenship-for-investment jurisdiction “commanding top dollars from foreign investors”.

“The formula I’m proposing is a two-step process,” he said in the release.

“The investor purchases land or a residence, that’s the first part; and secondly they contribute funds to a specially created fund that provides for three specific needs: hurricane and disaster relief and recovery, national development and the national health fund.

“These figures could be adjusted in a further discussion, but I would recommend considering a $750,000 purchase and a minimum contribution of $1 million to the fund, which lies outside the consolidated fund.”

Carey further suggested that the new economic citizens should be required to spend at least three months at a time in the country and demonstrate that their presence here is paying economic dividends.

“The investor would be required to spend at least 90 days in The Bahamas annually, demonstrate that their presence is resulting in additional employment and would not be able to sell their property for at least five years without an appeal in extenuating circumstances,” he said.

“Again, I think it is really important to stress that this would apply only to approved projects or purchases in the Family Islands and could be the economic shot in the arm they need, helping to stem the tide of people turning to Nassau for jobs. It could lead to better education, improved healthcare and other positive outcomes for the Family Islands, and based on other countries’ experiences, we would not be likely to attract more than 350 to 400 persons per year, a number the country could easily absorb and should readily welcome.”

Presently The Bahamas offers residency for purchasers of property that is $750,000 or more. Carey said around the world many countries have implemented some form of an economic citizenship program.

“Nowhere has the concept gained more favor than in the Caribbean, where several countries have used investor funds to recover from the devastation of hurricanes and other natural disasters,” the release points out.

“The objective is not to compete with St. Kitts, Barbados and Grenada, where, for less than half a million dollars, an investor could purchase citizenship. The Bahamas can command more.”

According to the release, St. Kitts and Nevis has attracted 11,000 foreign investors since offering a similar program, beginning in 1984.

“For a high-net-worth individual (HNWI), a second citizenship in the right jurisdiction could improve financial security by way of yielding strategic tax planning opportunities,” the release notes.

“For those hailing from a less politically or economically stable region, an alternate passport provides a sense of security along with an escape route in order to avoid political persecution or conflict in war-torn areas. The right passports provide visa-free entry into well over 100 countries.”

 

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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