(CARIBBEAN NEWS NOW) — Former Cabinet minister, Richard Frederick, has called on Saint Lucia’s prime minister, Allen Chastanet, to explain why not a single project has been executed under the country’s citizenship by investment programme (CIP), now well into its third year of operation.
“We have not executed one single project, not one with CIP funds… somebody name me a project that we have executed or we have implemented or is being implemented using CIP funds… not one,” Frederick said on his weekly show on local television.
In contrasting how such funds have been used in Dominica for the benefit of the population as a whole, Frederick drew extensively from a recent article by Caribbean News Now reporting that the first CIP-financed public housing project in Dominica is nearing completion.
“Have a look at this story folks, it’s right here, let me read excerpts of it very quickly,” Frederick said, reading parts of the article verbatim:
The innovative project in Dominica to provide affordable houses in Bellevue Chopin to house displaced residents of Petite Savanne following Tropical Storm Erika, which has been financed through the country’s citizenship by investment programme (CIP), is on track for the handover of the first completed units at the end of next month.
“This unique and highly successful project illustrates the social benefits that can accrue to the public at large from Dominica’s economic citizenship programme, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year and Tropical Storm Erika in 2015,” said project developer, Dr Anthony Haiden, chairman of citizenship consultants Montreal Management Consultants Est (MMCE) Ltd.
The project commenced in January 2017 but prevented from delivering the first 201 housing units in January 2018 as planned, due to the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017.
Haiden said that, in planning this project, MMCE paid careful attention to the vulnerabilities of Dominica to weather events and employed suitable technology and best practice in the construction of the new community. For this reason, the project suffered no physical impact as a result of Hurricane Maria.
Since then, construction activities have been fully resumed with the return of the international contractor’s full workforce, although they are still planning to increase their labour on site by an additional 25 percent above that prior to the hurricane within the next few days, bringing the workforce to some 400, including locals.
Approximately 80 percent of the concrete structures are now completed and roofing and interior fitting out is underway. The project is on target to commence handing over the first residences on August 31, 2018.
It is anticipated that over an eight-week period commencing August 31, 91 residential units will be handed over.
A further 102 residences will be handed over commencing late December 2018 and the remaining units in March 2019.
“Folks, you all heard this, are you all listening, are you all hearing this? This is exactly why the Caribbean countries initiated or implemented the economic citizenship programmes, that is exactly why, that is why they initiated it. So, the whole objective of the exercise was to make very much needed money to improve the lives of the citizens of the various countries; that is why it was implemented in the first place. This we just saw in Dominica,” Frederick continued.
He also noted that, in St Kitts and Nevis, CIP money has been used to fund schools, to fund highways, even to give salary increases and pay bonuses to civil servants at Christmas.
“That is what the money is supposed to be used for, but what do we do with ours in Saint Lucia? Somebody tell me; tell me what do we do with ours in Saint Lucia, I want to know… ask Allen Chastanet,” Frederick concluded.