Could Caribbean Economic Citizenship Programmes Cash in on Donald Trump’s Election Victory?
Uncertainty and fear over a United States governed by a Donald Trump administration appears to be pushing wealthy Americans to look for alternative citizenships – and the Caribbean just might benefit.
The Republican’s upset win over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was announced early yesterday after Tuesday’s elections, following a divisive campaign that featured controversial statements and actions by the real estate mogul, particularly as it relates to immigration, trade and climate change.
According to a statement issued by citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners on Wednesday, “in the hours since Donald Trump was confirmed as the next President of the United States, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Americans enquiring about alternative residence and citizenship programmes.”
It said similar sharp increases were also noted after major events such as the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, Brexit. However, Henley & Partners did not indicate how many of the inquiries had translated into actual Citizenship by Investment (CBI) applications, or to which CBIs any applications were made.
“Such spikes happen when citizens become uncertain about the future of their country. They seek safer options for their families,” it added, noting that as the chance that Trump would win the election increased on Tuesday night, the Canadian Immigration website crashed because of an overload of visitors.
Speaking from the 10th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in London, Henley & Partners’ chief executive officer Eric Major said there was similar interest among Americans looking for alternative citizenships and residences when George W. Bush was running for re-election in 2004.
“We are seeing a comparable trend emerging now among wealthy Americans who wonder what the next four years will hold. There has been a significant increase in enquiries to the Henley & Partners website since the news broke,” he said.
Henley & Partners noted that in contrast to 12 years ago, there are now many more residence and CBIs programmes available to choose from worldwide. Among them are CBIs in the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Governments are embracing these programmes to stimulate economic development and growth, and there are a growing number of wealthy and talented individuals looking to diversify their citizenship portfolios to give themselves and their families greater international opportunity, freedom and security.
Major said governments were recognizing the significant benefits of attracting global citizens who can contribute to their own economic development and advancement, with those individuals bringing not only their investment, but proven business success, world-class skills and international experience, valuable networks and contacts that can benefit a country enormously.
Meantime, leading Caribbean academic Sir Hilary Beckles said people should expect “migration of larger numbers of Caribbean people back to the region and significantly back to Latin America” because of Trump’s win.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies issued the warning as he contended that presidency had “reconstructed the white global supremacy system”.
Sir Hilary suggested that Trump’s election was a retrograde step that would take the US back by several decades to the days of “plantation America” when blacks had little to no civil rights and white supremacy was key.
Over five countries throughout the Caribbean Region have implemented a Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), including Saint Lucia.