Leader of the Opposition, and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie told Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith to prepare for a fight if it is discovered that rumors that Government is contemplating a citizenship by investment program are true.
Countries such as Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Malta, and St. Kitts and Nevis have citizenship by investment programs. Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Malta have specially designed programmes that offer qualified persons access to nationality rights without meeting the residency, or other requirements.
The two members of the Opposition did not go into details about the rumor but according to the Order Paper, Third District Representative Hon. Julian Fraser intended to ask Premier Smith to tell the House if government was considering a “Policy for Residency for Direct Investment.” However, the House was adjourned and the questions rolled over to another sitting to be held at later date.
As he debated the 2018 budget on 27 April, Hon. Fahie was quite specific in his announcement that if the rumors are true he would fight against the move. He told the Government “I am not going to sit down and let ayo give up our country…just for saving revenues sake.”
Hon. Fahie said that he understands that the Government is very interested in the citizen by investment prospect and told the House: “The government is going to pass soon to get some revenues to help people invest here, investment by residence. I am hearing that on the street. But I want to tell the Minister of Finance be careful because H.L Stoutt – say what you want about him – he brought this country to where it was; he was able to give a little thing without giving away his people.”
“Ralph O’Neal, he also has brought this Territory a far way without giving up his people. We don’t have the landmass like some of these other areas. Be careful what you are doing to raise revenue,” Hon. Fahie added.
The Opposition Leader said that he has also learnt that there are legislators who are in favor of seeing a citizen by investment program established: “…Some persons in this House already hell bent that they are going down that other road. And we must be careful when you are vulnerable, most people man and woman make the greatest mistakes when they are vulnerable,” he pointed out.
“Invest in our people, we could turn our people into millionaires. There are a lot of things we could do. I am telling you, I Andrew Arturo Fahie married to the truth the husband of one wife, saying that the same way I love my mother, my wife and my children, I love this country. I will fight for it the same way and Premier put your dukes up because of some of what you coming with. You out for a fight,” Hon. Fahie cautioned.
The First District Representative also noted that the dramatic need for revenue should not prompt the Territory to make damaging decisions. “Right now we are vulnerable financially and we cannot sit down and make mistakes that when we get going we realize ‘my God the BVI is so beautiful, but none of the people are here,” Hon. Fahie said.
He further told Premier Smith that the decision would not be in the best interest of the people of the BVI. “I am not seeing in your leadership where your confidence is in the people of the BVI. You are throwing them a bone every now and again. But every time I hear something passes it is not in their interest,” Hon. Fahie added.