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(SNO) — Former Minister for Public Service, Information, Broadcasting, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Dr. James ‘Jimmy’ Fletcher, has expressed regret in supporting the island’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), saying he has every right to change position held on any issue.
He had supported the program as a minister in the former Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration (under which the program came into existence) but now thinks the principle of selling passports is wrong.
“I’ve said it before and I will repeat it, my biggest regret as a senator is supporting the CIP legislation,” he wrote on Facebook. “I was wrong in my judgment.”
According to Dr. Fletcher, his change in position has nothing to do with how the current United Workers Party (UWP) administration is using the program.
“The principle is wrong,” he pointed out. “We are selling something that is not ours to sell. External governments have given us the privilege of visa-free access to their countries; this is not a commodity that we have the right to sell to bidders. The fact that others have done it or are doing it is not justification for us to. I was wrong in my earlier reasoning.”
He quoted the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the matter when he said, “The principle is very straightforward. The highest office in the land is that of citizen. It is that which binds all of us together in a political society called a state, we have rights and obligations to each other, that’s the highest office. Higher than Governor General, higher than Prime Minister. It is not a commodity for sale and the passport is the outward sign of the inward grace of citizenship and that to is not a commodity for sale.”
But while some people appear to admire Fletcher’s guts in admitting his change of heart, his judgement on critical matters was questioned by others.
“At least you have the guts to say your judgement was wrong,” Bain Nathaniel responded to him on Facebook. “But when you make wrong judgements on such critical issues, what does that say about you? That you are not perfect? Or you failed to recognize the importance and significance of the issue and the necessity for thorough research and intense consultations?”
But Fletcher insisted he made a mistake and will continue to make mistakes since he is a human.
“U (sic) missed my point,” Nathaniel answered. “Yes you will continue to make mistakes but I was referring to critical issues, where there is no room for mistakes. With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Fletcher responded, “I did not miss your point. My point is I made a decision on the information in front of me. Later, on reflection and after a discussion with a trusted friend who pointed out some issues to me, I realized that my original position was incorrect.”
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