The stunning island of Grenada offers new citizens a lot more than just a passport

The stunning island of Grenada offers new citizens a lot more than just a passport

Senator Christopher De Allie, Chairman, Citizenship by Investment Committee, Grenada, introduces a gold-standard Caribbean program


Senator, could you begin by giving readers who are not so familiar with your country a short introduction to Grenada. What makes it such a unique place?

To give you a quick overview of our country, geographically we are southernmost-located island in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States’ chain—we are directly between Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada enjoys a warm climate 365 days of the year and we are considered to be the spice of the Caribbean. We host three chocolate factories and we have many white-sand beaches, such as Grand Anse, that attract tourists from all over the world. The tourism sector is a large contributor to our economy.

Most importantly, I think the greatest asset Grenada brings to the fore is the warmth of all of its people and, of course, the security of our island. We boast very little crime and our wonderful population surpasses anything that you will have encountered before. When you come to Grenada, we welcome you to our culture, cuisine, music and our friendship with open arms.


Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment program (CIP) was launched in August 2013 and has seen dynamic growth, having contributed 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product last year. Can you describe the program’s evolution?

As you said, we started our program seven years ago and, as with every new program, there were some ups, downs and teething issues. We have been able to navigate these and have got to the point where we are now attracting investments primarily on two streams. We like to refer to them as section 10 and section 11. The section 10 stream is where potential participants will invest in our economy, particularly to our national transformation fund, and the section 11 stream of course is for investment projects that are primarily Grenada’s hotel and accommodation sector.

Over the last few years the program has grown significantly. We are now up to the 500-applications range per year and we are trying to move that to 1,000 a year, so that we can look at possibly greater investments flows into our country. We have been careful to maintain quality over quantity, because we are aware that CIP programs around the world can attract people with the wrong intentions. We must ensure that the reputation of our island is not damaged. So we have a very tight security checking process and that of course takes time and limits numbers to some degree, but we are happy to stay on that path for the time being. Because of this security aspect, people have seen the value of investing in our program, which has grown accordingly.

Of course, our program is somewhat unique in the Caribbean region as the E2 Visa that allows you to enter and work inside the U.S. is attached, which also brings a lot of interest from potential applicants to the program. Plus Grenada’s passport offers 140 countries that you don’t need visas to enter, including the U.K., the European Union and China. In addition, you get the intrinsic advantages of being a British Commonwealth citizen once you have a Grenadian passport. These benefits that come with our passport have also resulted in the program growing steadily.


Attracting individual citizens through investment is quite a competitive affair—never have investors had so many different enticing options. In what areas does Grenada stand out from competing countries?

Within the Caribbean region, our E2 Visa for the U.S. certainly makes us stand out. There is a lot of competition in terms of the pricing of CIPs within the region. Grenada’s program is not the lowest priced—we maintain that the price should be attached to the value that we bring to a potential Grenadian passport holder. At the end of the day, we try to screen as effectively as we can. We have a full screening process to ensure that we are attracting the right people, with the right investment intentions. That is how we have kept the program rated as one of the gold-standard CIPs in the region.

Additionally, I think the benefit that we bring to the international market is our country overall. If you become a citizen here, with all the benefits I’ve already mentioned, there’s a level of political stability that we offer in the region, which I think is very important when you consider what is happening around the world at the moment. Furthermore, in today’s COVID-19 environment, we are a country with one of the lowest infection rates. As a result of this, we have seen a huge interest, for example, in Americans wanting to look at a plan B for countries where they can have access to this safe environment. As we continue to develop our program nationally, we will be very careful to ensure that we maximize those benefits that we have.


Are Grenada’s fiscal incentives for investors different to those being offered elsewhere?

Yes, our fiscal incentives are linked to legislation. It has now been signed into law that once you come and invest in a particular project in Grenada—whether it be in tourism, ICT or renewable energy—the government looks at it through our Grenada industrial investment development cooperation initiative. Once your investment reaches a certain limit, then you attract certain concessions for your project. These concessions are normally linked to fiscal relief, whether it be through taxes or how you can get them returned, as well as other relief measures that we will offer in terms of duties and taxes across our ports when you import goods. We are now looking to see if we can attach a citizenship by investment aspect for potential investors as part of this concession regime.


One of the biggest trends emerging in the post-COVID world is remote working. With businesses increasingly going online, the free movement of professionals who are no longer tied to a specific location has created a surge in talent migration. What are your views on this phenomenon and how is Grenada positioning itself to leverage the opportunities emerging from this trend?

Small island states have to make sure that we look at areas where we can attract international people and businesses to our countries for obvious investment influence. As you have rightly mentioned, the COVID environment has certainly heightened interest in ICT, and what you can do with ICT and benefits around that. Our country is no different, our prime minister has now cited ICT as one of the major areas that Grenada is going to invest heavily in to develop it across both the public and private sectors.

Private sector companies have already started in that direction and there’s a lot of work happening there. For this, the country needs the infrastructure so that businesses are provided with the necessary base and structure. Through that, you can also facilitate people who may want to move to Grenada, buy a villa, move their families here, come to a safe environment, and be as effective and productive as they would feel in any other country. So yes, that is an area that we’re looking at. Most of the leaders in the Caribbean Community have already started discussing this—how we can leverage the ICT sector so that we can promote our countries as a second home not only for living, but for conducting business as well.


Real estate investments are one of the preferred vehicles for individual investors in CIPs. In Grenada’s case, we’re not only talking about condos or villas, but there have also been some large real estate development projects conducted under your CIP. Can you tell us a little bit about these and the opportunities that exist today?

We have some big projects. We have the Kawana Bay 5-star beach resort development, the Six Senses La Sagesse luxury hotel project and another project recently opened in the north of the island. All of these are in the accommodation sector and in various stages of development. These projects have been progressing pretty well and investment flows continue into them. As our CIP evolves and develops, we are looking at expanding it so it is not only involved in the accommodation sector but also in other sectors. For example, if someone is interested in investing in a medical facility to offer heart treatment, we believe that this could also be facilitated through our CIP as well. It gives the country the option to examine various public- or private-sector investment options that are available.


What can you tell us about aspects of Grenada that might be of particular interest to investors who are keen to move to here with their family?

If you want to move here in a family situation, important aspects for you are going to be health care, security and the ability to travel with little hassle. Grenada has an international airport and international flights, which provide ease of travel. When it comes to schools and universities, we boast of the St. George’s University (SGU)—one of the best medical facilities, which has turned out many world-class doctors that operate in the U.S. over many years. The SGU’s cohort is approximately 6,000 students, who primarily come from the region and the U.S. Of course, our own internal education programs through our schools are rated pretty highly. We have a good base when it comes to education.

We follow an English-type curriculum married with an American flavor as well. In terms of our health sector, there are challenges—I wouldn’t say that we are the best, but we’re certainly not the worse and we have private hospital facilities on the island that you can access if you don’t want to go through the public system. There is also the option of flying out if needed in an emergency to a nearby destination like Barbados, Trinidad or South America. Our strategic location in the Caribbean chain means that, within half an hour of take off, you can land at any one of these places to get advanced treatment if that is required. So from a healthcare perspective, yes, we have our challenges, but we offer alternatives that can see you deal with your issues as quickly as possible.

Of course, the security of the island and its political stability are another areas that families look at. As I said earlier, we boast very little crime and have an excellent police force that is very reactive to issues as they come up and that solves crimes, which is most important. And in terms of stability, the last time we had a political upheaval was in 1974, since when we have been very stable politically.


Do you have a final message for the readers of Newsweek?

What I would like to conclude with is that our CIP in Grenada offers a lot more than just citizenship for a passport. We are open to welcoming people with knowledge in various industries and are happy for you to share that with us so that we can build together.

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