Citizenship via investment in St. Kitts & Nevis
A Carribean island paradise, St. Kitts & Nevis, opens to investors-turned-citizens through the newest Range Developments project to develop Park Hyatt St. Kitts at Christophe Harbour. Aviamost sits down in a very rare opportunity with the His Excellency, The Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Prime Minister of the Federation of St Kitts & Nevis, to discuss this one-of-a-kind investment arrangement.
Tucked away on the Carribean is the small but homey country called St. Kitts & Nevis. Just a couple of hours of direct flight from Miami would lead visitors to this magnificent haven of Carribean islands. In fact, in the last few years, this quiet but progressive country is being eyed upon by various global entities for development in the hospitality and tourism front.
Quite recently, an amazing update was revealed in Dubai when an agreement was signed among Range Developments, an affiliate of Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Kiawah Partners to build and operate, contingent upon final financing, an ultra-luxury Park Hyatt hotel at Christophe Harbour on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Kitts. The project will be financed under the St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program through the sale of individual investment shares for USD $400,000.
Established in 1984, the St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is the oldest and most respected economic citizenship program of its kind. Individuals may become eligible for citizenship of St. Kitts & Nevis by making a qualifying investment in the country. The program allows dual citizenship and is strictly governed by state laws and regulations.
Ownership of an investment share (limited partnership interest) in the hotel project grants investors the right to become eligible for citizenship of St. Kitts & Nevis, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The key advantages of St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship include visa-free travel access to 139 countries across the world, including United Kingdom, Schengen European countries, and most British Commonwealth member countries. Also included are Canada, France, Germany and Switzerland. Citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis enjoy tax-free income and an exemption from paying taxes on capital gains, gifts, wealth and inheritance. Other benefits include dual citizenship for all nationalities without renouncing the citizenship of one’s home country, citizenship for life with an unlimited number of eligible dependents passed down through generations, and ability to obtain citizenship within 90 days without a residency requirement.
During the launch, His Excellency, The Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, Prime Minister of the Federation of St Kitts & Nevis commented, “We are extremely pleased to welcome the prestigious Park Hyatt brand and Range Developments to the island of St Kitts. This project will further advance our Government’s economic transformation of St. Kitts following the closure of the sugar industry in 2005. When completed, I am sure that guests of Park Hyatt St Kitts will find the very best in amenities and the highest standards in service, support facilities and island activities.” In an exclusive interview, he gave Aviamost further insights about St. Kitts & Nevis, the project and the long withstanding citizenship program that benefit the country’s investors.
Your Excellency, first question is how has been the relationship of your country with China?
St. Kitts and Nevis has an excellent relationship with China. At the moment we do not have a diplomatic relationship but we have an excellent growth relationship with China. China is actually a major investor in our Caribbean development bank and has supported several development projects in St. Kitts and Nevis. We also have a relationship with Taiwan, but that is beside the point. We had in the past a consular presence in Hong Kong, which we are going to re-open.
China is a big country with a powerful market who is interested in investment opportunities overseas. What are the interesting possibilities for Chinese in St. Kitts and Nevis?
St. Kitts and Nevis has been an independent country since 1983. And in 1984, we introduced the citizenship by investment program which was mainly designed to assist us in the transformation of the national economy. We have been a sugar producing country for centuries and we realize that in a hostile and competitive world with prospects of being a small country we needed to get involved in an economical activity where we would have a competitive edge. And so in the area of services, especially hospitality and tourism services, information communication technology and in international financial services those would the areas ideal for investment. We provide citizenship by investment program which allows for investment in hotels, second residential homes, villas, condominiums. And those who invest in that particular area encourage us by their investment as part of building up of tourist facilities, and so we grant them the citizenship.
Since 1984, how many investors did you attract with that program since 1984?
It has been a very important program to us but we have been very particular in screening those who are involved. From the last years that we have been involved in this program, we have not even had 1500 people as yet. In recent times however, we have seen an interest and would want to be able to accelerate that number beyond what it is today. So we are still very much over in terms of attracting new investors encouraged by citizenship by investment program.
What are the investment opportunities for the Chinese nationals in St Kitts and Nevis besides the Park Hyatt and other real estate developments?
The actual services sector is one of those and I can tell you that at the moment we have several Chinese nationals who have become citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis because they have invested in our citizenship by investment program. They invest in real estate in St. Kitts and Nevis, some invest in secondary residential homes, some in condominiums and some of them make contribution investment to a foundation that is assisting our country developing the transition from sugar agriculture economy to services. We provide citizenship by investment program which allows for investment in hotels, second residential homes, villas, condominiums. And those who invest in that particular area encourage us by their investment as part of building up of tourist facilities, and so we grant them the citizenship.
What exactly are the benefits for the Chinese from the investment?
From being an investor in investment opportunities in St. Kitts; we find that you can have free access and money can be freely accessed by you at anytime without any kind of interest. The interest that you may have on profits that you has recurred on your investments; you can send it out of St. Kitts to wherever you wish in the world, without any kind of interest. If you have had an investment and want to transfer it, to have in inherited by the family or to give it as a gift or anything of that kind, there is no tax at all charged on that. The investment that you make is St. Kitts and Nevis; there is no tax on income that you receive from that investment. None of the citizens pays income tax, he does not have to declare their income or pay any tax on it so it is basically free. We have also found that because of the stability in the economy, those who may invest in the financial services sector, whether they are going to buy Treasury Bill. St. Kitts and Nevis are at the financial centre of the Eastern Caribbean. There are 8 countries that use the same currency, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, and the central bank is located in St. Kitts and Nevis. Stock exchange is located in St. Kitts as well as three other financial institutions that make up the financial centre for the 8 member territories that support our currency and union. So again, being in the St. Kitts and Nevis, investing in the financial sector brings certain amount of stability and to that extent brings you confidence.
And besides all those benefits…?
It’s a paradise. It is a place where you can come and see the benefit of your investment; you can see it grow, because the hotel sector is relatively new and is still developing. Investing in property; a villa, a condominium will bring you returns as well as Park Hyatt is expected to bring returns. And what a better place, to see your money grow than on a paradise island, where you are on the beach every day, you can hear the birds singing outside your windows, you can see turtles crawling to their nest from the ocean; where else in the world can you see that but in St Kitts and Nevis.
About the project
Park Hyatt St. Kitts will form an integral part of the Christophe Harbour community. Range Developments and Kiawah Partners will develop the project and adhere to the company’s development philosophy to protect the land and sea in ways both sensitive and harmonious to the environment while providing places for man to live enjoyably within a range of natural settings.
Set within the residential resort community of Christophe Harbour which calls for world class amenities such as a super yacht marina, Tom Fazio golf course, and private beach club, Park Hyatt St. Kitts will encompass 200 hotel rooms and 50 branded residential condominiums, that will be constructed in three phases. The first phase will be comprised of 125 rooms and all the amenities and support facilities to service the resort at full build-out. The amenities planned for the hotel include multiple dining venues, private beach access, pool, spa and meeting facilities.
Range Developments has also partnered with Dewan (Architects & Lead Engineers), FEBC (Project Managers) and Standard Chartered (Escrow Account Bank) for Park Hyatt St Kitts.