Send me your poor!

The official closing bulletin of the Global Citizen Forum in Monaco concluded with a call for greater cooperation to address global migration challenges. Global citizens, philanthropists, world leaders, celebrities, policymakers, and thought leaders gathered to discuss an array of issues facing the world, focusing on the escalating refugee crisis in Europe and the need for a political solution. Isn’t it wonderful when new words pop up out of the blue? Imagine all those “thought leaders” thinking together! – Oh, and Kenny Anthony was there too but he was on a different mission.

In his keynote address, Kofi Annan said that Europe is facing the greatest movement of refugees since World War II. “The historic refugee crisis Europe is facing today is so hard to solve because it is not a one-off, humanitarian phenomenon. It is, in fact, a by-product and symptom of much deeper political problems that beset regional and global order. It will therefore require concerted action not just in and by Europe, but amongst the regional powers of the Middle East, and the global powers of the Security Council.” Frankly, after listening to Kofi, I had to wonder where Kenny with his potential tax dodging schemes fitted in.

Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, addressed the forum with the message that global citizenship lies in the future leaders of the world, the youth, and the great need to address issues such as access to education and teaching tolerance and peace among the world’s children. “To move forward, we need every actor on board, from civil society to the private sector, to connect the dots, to foster the innovation the world needs today. Each of us has a responsibility to others; each of us has a responsibility to the world. This is about human rights and dignity. This is about inclusion and peace. Fundamentally, this is about the kind of societies we want to live in.”

Poor old Irina, there she was going on about global citizenship while Kenny, our own thought leader, was doing his utmost to encourage people with a few dollars in their pockets to hide their selfishly-gotten gains behind St Lucia’s citizenship by investment barricades. Talk about being out of sync!

During his address, José Manuel Barroso, former Prime Minister of Portugal and 11th President of the European Commission, looked at the meaning of borders and the role of global governance. “We are more interdependent than ever. We can be proud of our local, national and regional identity, but also realize that we are part of mankind. This refugee crisis is a time to show that we are serious about our values – that we can make them work in favour of common interest of mankind. The idea of this global citizen tax is one way. It shows that countries are not just interested in receiving the wealthy, but also sharing that wealth with those most in need.”

Good old José and his Global Citizen Tax – but how does his thought leadership of sharing wealth globally through taxation tally with Kenny’s plan that might possibly lead to some form of tax avoidance for those with money to hide? Did Kenny end up in the wrong place? The forum seemed to be moving towards additional taxation for the good of all, not avoidance. The global citizen tax would be a simple levy on investor applications for residence or citizenship in EU countries. The proposed tax could mean big changes, potentially delivering revenues of over a billion euros in the next five years. The impact of these funds could be realized through the creation of jobs, aid for the agencies working with refugees or other economic stimulation to the impacted countries. Did Kenny turn left instead of right after he left the airport and end up in the wrong place?

Three-time Grammy award-winning artist and activist Wyclef Jean spoke about his experience as a refugee and becoming a global citizen. Various panel discussions were held including a panel on peace and security that explored current geopolitical challenges and trends in the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and discussion on innovative approaches to addressing the refugee crisis and foreign direct investment’s impact in countries around the world. Robin Sharma spoke of the importance of individual leadership and becoming a “change-maker” in the global citizenship community during his session at the forum. At the Global Citizen Gala Dinner, the forum bestowed the Global Citizen Award on Regina Catrambone, co-founder of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station for her contributions in bringing awareness and aid to refugees.

Armand Arton, founder of the Global Citizen Forum, said: “This forum focused on global challenges and opportunities related to migration and the concept of global citizenship from the perspective of individuals and governments. The past two days have gone a long a way to building and deepening the global community that we aspire to create.”

But you know what? Not a word, not a word, not a word about Kenny Anthony in the closing bulletin! His message was clearly out of step with the philanthropic tone of the forum, unless, of course, he was hoping to attract and divert a few hundred thousand rich refugees from Syria to fill his Citizenship by Investment coffers!

Imagine the headlines! St Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Program Solves European Immigrant Crisis!

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