The Hon. Peter Charles David is Minister for Foreign Affairs and Labor in Grenada. After the 1999 general elections, he qualified as a barrister-at-law and continued his political career. He has been a member of the House of Representatives from the town of St. Georges and served as the Deputy General Secretary of the New National Party. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from July 2008 to November 2010 and subsequently served as Minister of Tourism until April 2012.
In this interview, he speaks on why Grenada is a highly sought-after country for second citizenship, the country’s investment environment, the CBI programme, Range Developments’ planned Six Senses resort at La Sagesse, among other issues.
Why is Grenada such a highly sought-after country for second citizenship?
Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment program is well recognized as one of the best in the Caribbean. There are many programs throughout the region and other parts of the world but we have found that because of the features of our program and nature of our investments we have been able to distinguish ourselves – such features include the donation option; our relationship with the US with Grenadian citizens being eligible to apply for E2 visas; a passport which is highly recognized and has integrity so when it is presented to border officials they know it is a reliable passport; solid investment options, for example, the Range Developments project. Range has a history throughout the region having completed projects in St. Kitts and Dominica.
How would you rate the investment environment in Grenada especially for foreign investors not very familiar with local laws and practices?
To invest in Grenada is safe. Grenada relies heavily on foreign direct investment be it tourism, agriculture, industry, I.T. The government having recognized this, has through the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation, put measures in place for such investments which has improved the process of doing business in Grenada over the past few years.
What processes or institutions are in place to protect the investment of foreigners and for recourse in the events of a dispute?
Grenada has a British Colonial history. Grenada has maintained links with Britain and we have a British legal Common-law system; which most of our investors would be familiar and comfortable with. Most of our business is conducted on the basis of practices in Britain and the United States.
Can you tell us about your citizenship by investment programmes and its significance to Grenada?
Our CBI program is extremely critical to the development of Grenada. Most of the recent investment in tourism has been through the real estate investment option of CBI. The Range Development project for example will bring to our shores the first Six Senses resort and will build our hotel room stock. Grenada relies heavily on foreign direct investment and our CBI program is one such vehicle which drives such investment, and as such the focus of this government has to ensure that the process of obtaining citizenship of Grenada is as seamless as possible.
As the only Caribbean country whose citizens are eligible for the US E2 non-immigrant visa, how would you describe your relationship with the US?
Signed in 1983, the E2 treaty was a reflection of the good relations between the US and Grenada. I have no doubt that the relationship between the US and Grenada will continue to grow from strength to strength.
What goes into consideration during due-diligence and background checks on investors interested in Grenadian citizenship?
In order to ensure that our CBI program is of the highest quality, the due diligence and background checks undertaken are stringent and all-encompassing. This is in an effort of ensuring that persons granted citizenship of Grenada would not bring the people pf Grenada any disrepute. Through our various relationships the background checks capture and confirm applicants’ personal identification information, employment history, any criminal records or pending investigations, civil litigation, whether the applicant is a politically exposed person.
Are there limits to the rights and freedom enjoyable by investors who buy second citizenship in Grenada?
The short answer is no. Persons who become citizens through CBI have all the rights and constitutional privileges enjoyed by all citizens of Grenada. As far as we are concerned in Grenada we have one set of citizens despite the various ways one can become a citizen, – by birth, marriage, descent, investment; everyone is treated equally under our laws.
Is citizenship transferable to applicants’ offspring and to what extent are spouses and extended family members covered?
Yes the citizenship is transferable to the applicants’ offspring and other family members such as parents and siblings can also be added.
How does Grenada help new citizens and their families integrate into the island country’s society?
Despite not being required to visit or live in Grenada, we encourage our new citizens to treat Grenada as their “home away from home.” To look at the many opportunities we have available for secondary investment. Integrating into life in Grenada is easy. We are a friendly people, one of the safest countries in the world, traveling to and from Grenada can be done through a number of international hubs
Are there programs that facilitate this?
Not that I am aware of.
Can you talk about Grenada to Nigeria diplomatic relationship over the years and how it has evolved?
Grenada to Nigeria relations have not been as good as they should be, in fact Grenada to Africa relations have not been as good as they should be. We are all aware that the majority of our citizens are of African descent. Nigeria is the most developed of the African countries. We are looking to strengthen relations by establishing an Embassy in Nigeria. I have had discussions with Nigerian Diplomats and business persons and I am very excited of the prospect of deepening ties. We are seeking to attract more investment from Nigeria, through trade missions.
In the next five years, where do you envision Grenada as a business and investment hub?
I have seen the ease of doing business in Grenada improve over the years. Again, because foreign direct investment is so crucial to our development, this government has taken steps to improve a number of services which will result in placing Grenada at the fore as a business and investment hub.
What testimonies about Grenada have you heard from foreign investors in your country?
A number of foreign investors have not only done business in Grenada but also made Grenada their home. Can’t think of any specific testimony but the general consensus is that Grenada is a safe place and their investments are secure here
What are your thoughts and expectations about Six Senses La Sagesse by Range Developments?
I am very excited about Range Developments’ planned Six Senses resort at La Sagesse. Hotel development has been predominantly in the south of the island so to bring such a luxury development to St. Davids will have a huge impact that will benefit not only the people of St. Davids but Grenada as a whole. Range Developments’ track record was a deciding factor when the government made the decision to approve the project under our CBI program. Having brought 5-star luxury resorts to our sister islands of St. Kitts and Dominica through their respective CBI programs mean that Range is familiar with building in this part of the world and working with the government and people. I look forward to welcoming guests of the Six Senses La Sagesse to Grenada.
For Nigerian investors seeking to invest in Grenada, what is the most important thing to keep in mind?
To play on a legal maxim, he who comes of Grenada must come with clean hands.
Apart from easy access to US residency, what are the other benefits of a Grenada citizenship?
Citizenship for life for not only the investor and spouses and children but also for the investors’ parents and siblings, visa-free travel to more than 130 countries including the UK, China, Russia and Europe; the right to live and work in Grenada, all the rights available under the Constitution of Grenada.