Citizenship by investment has become a bubble in the Caribbean. These programs are designed to sell safe havens liberally and unilaterally. Participating countries do not mandate by law to give up prior citizenship, and have very little restrictions and compliance, except the desire to receive large sums of capital towards a perceptible infusion in socio-economic development.
In return, a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) passport is issued with the privileges equivalent to Caribbean nationals plus special investment privileges that governments are reluctant to disclose.
In this context, the establishment of a global residence and citizenship programme as presented in Saint Lucia “is flavoured at the behest of intoxication, committed to the art form of prostitution on Saint Lucia’s patrimony.” On this matter, and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the government of Saint Lucia should schedule a referendum. In many ways, these impact each national and will influence internal and external national affairs.
Also, this is very necessary, in the midst of government’s blindfold vision and frequent misadventures of related policy ideas that have dramatically increased the sufferings of families and contributed to business and economic demise.
Of parallel importance is the uneasiness that dual citizenship is creating within member states of the Commonwealth nations that are under oath of allegiance to “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second” that recognize dual citizenship. And you will note that one does not apply for dual citizenship, likewise, there is no certificate attached to this either.
In the context of Caribbean economies, dual citizenship should not be used as a political tool of convenience to propagate mischief, distract and cloud minds to the benefit of political cronies and their institutions that live at the expense of foreign governments like Venezuela, without showing any degree of remorse and in recent times at the benevolence of the people of Taiwan.
A rational optimist can uplifted mankind, but dull speeches that sound off how remittances matter, and that skills and services are required during times of distress and natural disaster, to one’s responsibility of goodwill, are some of the most common hypocritical scripted appeals made to Caribbean nationals of dual citizenship.
Yet often viewed and referred to, regrettably so, as foreigners that have lesser rights and freedom, protection, and access to investment opportunities in their native country as compared to the establishment of a global residence and citizenship programme or any other investment opportunity.
Like everything else in government this boils down to political principles, which means, there is no doubt in my mind that there are conflict of intrinsic interest, on matters surrounding Constitutional law, oath of office, allegiance, or adherence to a foreign power or state.
However, the episode of dual citizenship comes to the fore more profusely on the heels of general elections. The purpose of which is twofold; beginning with political activists, who brand nationals adversely and obstruct service in parliament; a prominent feature in the national dialogue that is easier than creating economic opportunities, and second, alongside another Robin Hood reputation that includes educational segregation, big government, informants and cronies who strategically measure and propagate restrictions in exchange for government rules and regulations to stifle competition.
Red and yellow travesty
Indeed, without transparency and sharing of information, setbacks to democratic governance is apparent in the absolute ignorance embedded in the continual red and yellow travesty. In view of that, quality representation is having detrimental effects on leadership and governance and on display in the parliament of Saint Lucia, where the Member of Parliament for Castries South-East coined the phrase, “Since when dat’s your role?” referring to the speaker of the house of assembly.
Undeniably, good governance with a strong identity and a sense of purpose is at a serious disadvantage and will need to be address at the soonest if the honorable nature of parliament is to be salvaged.
Therefore, it would serve the good of all, if the Constitutional review and supplementary documents tabled in the parliament of Saint Lucia that await the natural ease of due process would become a priority, and in response to concerns, focus on a proper balance that best serves the interest and advancement of a small population, small economies of scale and a small pool of talent on which to draw on readily.
And, in so doing, examine the wisdom to the analysis that a predatory demographic of valet statehood is being nurtured and accommodated in Saint Lucia and the wider Caribbean region through the current format of the global residence and citizenship programme(s).
A downward spiral
In times past, the well connected and privileged, and that of the plantocracy, fashion a society that fulfilled basic needs. Times have changed. Nowadays, citizens need equal opportunity of advancement in society. But governments discreetly have forgotten that.
And so, more and more, inconsistency and trivial mindedness is creeping into the creation of one class of citizens for electoral purposes, political cronies, dual citizens/foreigners and citizens through the sale of passports to cement a crafty economic existence representing the plantocracy of the ruling political class.
With this setup, who benefits from defrauding the poor and vulnerable with dubious expectation and deceptive fantasies?
Selling a lie requires practice and conviction of self in order to propagate invention of mass capital injection, unsustainable debt, execute extreme government contracts to build bridges over trouble waters, pie in the sky airport development hypothesis and four lane roads in the middle of two lane choke holds that excite cronies. Yet government incompetence cannot exactly structure and interpret infrastructure contracts in a transparent way, as witnessed in the parliament of Saint Lucia.
To many, this is déjà vu. The result of which will be a downward spiral of more debt extending to the unborn Saint Lucians. As the deception continues, the possibility exists to swop ineptitude for clumsiness. Same thing, right! Therefore, who pays, for greasing of palms?
Save from a major course correction Saint Lucia is staring Greece in the eye with similarities of a dysfunctional parliament, toxic politics, lack of trust, unsustainable debt, poor debt management and a zombie economy. In the light of such, deputy prime minister Philip J. Pierre is attempting to reassure every one other than himself that Saint Lucia is saved from a Greece scenario.
Consider the facts from the Budget Statement 2015 for a moment.
“The changes would have allowed roughly 2,100 persons to be removed from the Tax Roll. Mr Speaker, at this time, I would like to point out that the objective of this reform is not to raise additional revenue. In fact, the proposal that I have before me indicates a reduction in personal income tax revenue somewhere in the region of $8 million.” ~ Budget statement of 2014/15
“Besides that, there are approximately 25% unemployment, 85% GDP, US$1 billion in public debt and growing daily, 60% illiteracy, 40% percentage youth unemployment, that compounds lost income and economic viability, business closure and bankruptcy, in an economy overburden debt servitude and three years of stagnation (negative 1.7%, 2.3% and 2.7 % in 2014) ~ St Lucia’s Chinese checkers budget eclipses politics and fiscal accountability”
In addition to the complex problems of gang violence, crime, social justice issues, drug trafficking, firearms and persons. And that’s not half of what game show politicians are refusing to rethink, but choose to produce terrible arrogance!
On the horizon
A perfect storm is brewing away from the incarcerate view of the deputy prime minister, that EC$5, in Saint Lucia, can adequately feed a hungry belly, and “block-a-hole.” The mere thought of which should illuminate concerns on the long-term future of Saint Lucia, mired in debt, poverty and fear and how important it is to understand the impact of various programmes on the culture, the trend in local communities and nationally.
Equally, selling Caribbean (Saint Lucia) Community passports can lead to even worse frustration and deprivation if the expected economic return becomes an erroneous belief that betrays character, having been fed a diet of more false expectation.
Therefore to ostracize the role of dual citizens of native origin; setbacks to constitutional and structural reform and policy ideas outside of the mainstream, is a betrayal that recoils the moral fiber of society, and threatens to devour the future of democratic social order.
This should serve caution against isolating the poor into prolonged poverty, away from the cream of the economy. A mindset that perpetuates the imposition of the dark ages of original sin and undisclosed transactions at least for the time being which is the business of the people and country.
To solve this downside is contingent on using certain intelligence, entrepreneur instincts and industry knowledge that leverage entrepreneurial skills sets to maximize invest and development options.
This sort of challenge carries a different order and magnitude that attract the best overall results outside the spectacle of political establishments that lounge around each day and just perceive the stars will perform. In addition, because the best-laid plan is not understood, nothing will happen, thus messing-up incredible opportunities that result in long-term apprehension.
More than anything else, the challenge is to be brilliant and transact the best deal for the future dynamics of diversity, growth and development.
Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) www.lpmstlucia.com critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at [email protected]