When I first started exposing corruption among government officials in the Commonwealth of Dominica, I was immediately confronted by a chorus of people accusing me of being a paid agent, publishing false information in the service of some unnamed entity, and seeking to effect regime change, by any means. Inasmuch as I do not practice chequebook journalism, I assumed that the naysayers were seeking to impeach my credibility, but I was wrong. The truth is much more disturbing.
It is all about the overpowering influence of a number of international Citizens by Investment (CBI/CIP) consultancies, multi-national sales organizations engaged in reaping obscenely high commissions for placing high net worth individuals, moral as well as amoral, into CBI programs, which give applicants from dodgy countries a "safe" passport, removing the stigma of the high risk national origin from their travel documents. It is an unregulated industry, notwithstanding the very public efforts of its members to cosmetically enhance their image through controlled NGOs whose output sounds suspiciously like propaganda.
Behind the scenes, CBI consultancy power is regularly applied:
(1) To win favourable arrangements with local Caribbean CBI governments eager to share in the lucrative fees, as well as inflated costs, so as to collect not only their listed commissions but sales overrides that are never disclosed to the investing public.
(2) To change the game in specific jurisdictions, through direct and indirect financial support to Opposition parties, including dirtying up incumbents, through scandal exposure, including false information, and buying or fixing elections. Once in power, the newly-installed Opposition gives the CBI consultancy a sweet exclusive deal and throws out its competition.
(3) To deliver diplomatic passport applicants from high-risk jurisdictions, who are attracted to the possibility of evading Customs and Immigration inspection, and net the consultancy, and corrupt local politicians, millions in advance fees, kept and not passed along to government treasuries.
(4) To provide payments and perks for the members of CBI units, their ministerial overseers and their extended families, to reinforce their privileged contractual arrangements.
Who is in control in specific East Caribbean states, The prime minister and majority party, or the CBI consultancy? The artful use of bribes and kickbacks, and the delivery of clients has made these states dependent upon the lucrative CBI receipts, and use the money for budgets, not sponsoring needed jobs creation.
The undue influence of the CBI consultancies over the East Caribbean states, is interfering with democracy and is leading several countries down the road to a Cuban-style and Venezuelan type of socialist dictatorship. Let us hope that the East Caribbean learns to control their CBI consultancies before the countries slide into one-party, autocratic states.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant