Although government intends to allow wealthy investors to live in the Territory, Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith made it clear that this was not a citizenship by investment programme.
During the questions and answers segment of the House of Assembly, Opposition Member and Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser asked the Premier if government intended to offer citizenships in exchange for investment.
“Madame Speaker have we in the Territory reached the state in our finances where we are considered to be rock bottom now?” Hon. Fraser asked.
In response the Premier said: “My Government is considering a national trade policy to create an attractive business environment for domestic and foreign investors…Among the measures being considered to encourage those substantial forms of investment is residence. Many countries are encouraging this form of investment or even consider citizenship by investment.”
However, Hon. Smith stressed that the policy his government had in mind is different to a citizenship by investment programme because they cannot offer citizenship to anyone: “First thing we are not selling citizenship, that is not what this is all about. This is about encouraging people to invest.”
“I would not like to believe that if someone invests $100M in the Territory you would not want to allow them to come to the Territory undisturbed by giving them some form of residence…This is about the diversification of the economy of the Virgin Islands and it is something arguable other countries in the world are doing… If you want people to come and invest their hard earned money in your country in terms of development they would expect to be able to reside where they are making this investment,” the Premier added.