Fellow citizens and residents, good evening.
Tonight I address you on the matter of the Citizenship by Investment COVID-19 Relief Payment (Dividend).
While the Citizenship by Investment programme has been present in our country for almost four (4) decades, it is the first time that a Citizenship by Investment COVID-19 Relief Payment or Dividend from the profits generated from this programme is being paid to the citizens and residents of St.Kitts and Nevis.
In fact, it is the first time in the Caribbean that ordinary citizens and residents are being paid a dividend on any state asset. This makes it a significant gesture by your caring government, recognizing that citizens and residents contribute greatly to the development of any asset of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party was the only political entity in the recently held political campaign to have the decency of understanding that it is the citizens and residents that own the state asset and it was the only political party to offer a dividend as part of its pledge once it got into office.
The offer was made and the reality is delivered.
It is a fact that according to the normal company structure dividends are paid only when there is a profit in a given operating year. However, hundreds of millions of the Citizenship by Investment funds were abused by the previous administration, hence the profit margin that could have been is significantly reduced.
It is also a fact, that normally no company distributes all of its profits in a given year in dividends. Some portion of that profit is always used for the general good of the shareholders collectively. Hence, it is the model that was followed in determining how much the dividend would be. Portions of that profit have been allocated to the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund. Portions of the profit are also assigned to capital investment for the general good of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis collectively.
Some twenty-three (23) million dollars were allocated for the payment of this dividend. It forms a part of the Government’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief and Recovery Package, being the fifth (5th) initiative to be undertaken thus far.
There are two categories of payments:
Category 1 – Social Security pensioners and those who are pensionable in the Social Security scheme. Those persons would have made five hundred (500) contributions and upwards into the Social Security Fund will receive a $500.00 dividend.
Category 2 – are those persons who are not yet pensionable, meaning therefore, that their number of contributions would be from four hundred and ninety-nine (499) contributions downwards. They will receive a dividend of $250.00.
This decision includes persons who, because of the small number of contributions, were recommended not to receive a Citizenship by Investment COVID-19 Relief Payment (Dividend). However, it is my strong view and desire that this first dividend must include any person who has contributed to our Social Security Scheme.
The payment process is scheduled to begin by Thursday December 15th, 2022 with the goal of all payments being completed by December 31st 2022.
Going forward, like in all other entities where dividends are paid, how much and how it is paid, will be determined by the prevailing circumstances. A dividend is a recognition of the investment of the sharholders in any company. As we move forward, this St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration will evaluate all state assets and explore the possibility of dividends from such assests to the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The twenty-three (23) million dollars is a cash injection into the economy intending to stimulate growth and economic activity and to encourage our ordinary citizens and residents to become shareholders in private companies, understanding that it is also a form of savings.
I invite all of you to become financially savvy and join our Administration in creating a wealth-conscious society as your Government moves forward in creating avenues and opportunities for wealth accumulation.
I bid you all a Joyous Holiday Season.
Thank you. God Bless You.