In contrast with more venerable programs such as Dominica and St Kitts, the Grenada passport program is young and immature. Indeed, since its inception in 2013 the Grenada passport’s E-2 visa eligibility has been the darling of anglophiles craving US residency.
Until recently, the Grenada Passport program had appeared squeaky clean from the outside. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed unprecedented economic strain on Grenada’s economy. As is so often the case, economic pressure reveals indiscretion.
Recent signs of immaturity includes political involvement in the day to day operations of the Grenada passport program. This has resulted in two high profile resignations by Grenada CBI officials. Additionally, a large government approved CBI project – Kimpton Kawana Bay – has revealed liquidity issues raising doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern.
Also, privacy of Grenada passport applicants is not confidential. In an egregious betrayal of confidentiality, the US government has been underwriting the Grenada passport program. This is possible thanks to the Grenada government submitting applicant info using the US Joint Regional Communications Center (JRCC) due diligence protocol.
High Profile Resignations from Grenada Passport Program
On February 13, 2021 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Percival Clouden submitted his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister of Grenada. Known as the “Passport Czar” due to his 25 years experience as an investment banker, Mr. Clouden’s presence had given the Grenada CBI program an boost of credibility and his resignation was controversial.
A source close to Mr. Clouden revealed the true motivation for the abrupt resignation. Allegedly, Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell was trying to circumvent standard underwriting procedures for several CBI applications.
Apparently, the Prime Minister is under tremendous economic pressure and is seeking additional revenues from the program during tough economic times. Nonetheless, the implications of corruption are serious and will damage the reputation of the Grenada citizenship by investment program.
Furthermore, Mr. Clouden’s resignation was followed 2 months later by the resignation of the CBI Chairman Chris De Allie. The reasons for Mr. Allie’s resignation were not revealed by him. However, a source close to Mr Allie cited political pressure to approve CBI applications applied through a close ally of the Prime Minister who sits on the CBI board of directors.
Grenada CBI Real Estate Project Reveals Insolvency
In a high profile and very public resignation, Warren Newfield – principal and director of Grenada’s Kimpton Kawana Bay – resigned as Ambassador-At-Large and Grenadian Consul in Florida. The reasons stated by Mr. Warren are ambiguous. Nonetheless, in a previous post I extensively examined the background experience of the Kimpton Kawana Bay real estate project and its developer. The results are not flattering.
Their real estate development experience is seriously lacking and they have been projecting misleading information concerning progress made on the project to date. Unfortunately, these recent developments raise additional doubts about the ability of Kimpton Kawana Bay to continue as a going concern.
Conspicuous failure of such a visible project (located on Grenada’s Grande Anse Beach) would seriously harm the reputation of the Grenada passport program.
Grenada Passport Applicant Confidentiality is Betrayed to the JRCC
Grenada is one of the only Caribbean passport programs that offers citizenship with no nationality restrictions. Ostensibly, they do not discriminate regardless if you are a Swiss national, Iranian or Syrian. All nationalities receive a fair application process.
However, on October 27, 2020 the US Ambassador to the OECS revealed in an interview that Grenada had been regularly using the JRCC in Barbados as part of their due diligence process. It is indeed an egregious breach of confidentiality that Grenada would allow another sovereign country – especially the US – to participate in underwriting the Grenada passport program.
The breach of confidentiality is especially conspicuous because access to “INTERPOL and other groups” is available without assistance from the JRCC. Use of the JRCC is obviously imposed on Grenada by the US government in order to obtain applicant’s personal information. As a result, the US government can directly link requests for background information with a specific citizenship application.
The Grenada Passport Program is Beholden to US Government
Unfortunately, Grenada’s US E-2 visa eligibility leaves the Grenada program beholden to the US government. Without the E-2 status the Grenada passport program would lose its anglophile allure and premium pricing power.
Fortunately, the US ambassador commented in the interview that “Grenada is doing a good job. Grenada is using it more than some of the others”. This implies not all Caribbean CBI programs submit applicant info to the JRCC.
We should assume Grenada is the only program which submits their applicant’s info to the JRCC. Although I have my suspicions about other relatively new programs such as St Lucia.
However, CBI program applicants should be aware that Grenada is the only program with E-2 eligibility in the Caribbean. Additionally, Grenada has unique ties to the US government since they requested US military intervention during the 1979 Grenada Revolution.
This US military intervention resulted in Grenada becoming a US E-2 Treaty country. Unfortunately, it also resulted in the US Government easily imposing its will on the Grenada passport program.