Dominica Selling Passports After Disastrous Storm
To prospective tourists, the tiny Caribbean nation of Dominica markets itself as the 'Nature Island', touting its charms as "a diver's dream and hiker's paradise". But when Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit recently toured the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia to woo foreign investors, his unique selling point was neither his country's colourful coral reefs nor its lush rainforests. Rather, it was visa-free travel to Europe: for as little as US$100,000, foreigners can acquire citizenship of the Commonwealth of Dominica – and a passport that allows them to travel unimpeded to over 100 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom and the entire Schengen zone. Such economic citizenship programmes, which are being run by several small island states in the region, have raised concerns that terrorists, criminals and other shady characters could buy Caribbean passports to evade justice, slip into Europe and North America through the back door, or squirrel away billions in stolen public money in tropical tax paradises.