Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony told reporters last month that his government intends to consider installing the programme as a means of boosting inward investment. He said that this consideration comes at a time when the country battles with a “severe, debilitating and oppressive,” economic climate for which it may have to begin considering initiatives which it had first declined to implement.
“I think we cannot close our eyes because it’s an option we may have to consider and in so doing we may have to look at the experiences of other countries,” the prime minister said.
The governor general, in presenting her throne speech at parliament on Tuesday said that, “The time has arrived for us to examine the case for defining and broadening the framework under which citizenship might be offered as part of investing in Saint Lucia.”
However she questioned that “if we should think that it is a viable option, then under what circumstances should we do so?”
The governor general also spoke in favour of government’s idea to have a special task force appointed to examine the programs of other countries and to make developmental recommendations for the consideration of cabinet. That task force will comprise of individuals from various spheres including the opposition, private sector, trade unions and non-governmental organisations, she said.
“It is my government’s hope that this matter will be addressed with urgency during the current parliamentary year,” the governor general noted.
Meanwhile, though supporting the island’s thrust to broaden the range of incentives offered to investors which is hoped to make the island more attractive to investors, the governor general stressed that “it is right for our people to guard the grant of citizenship to others, jealously.”
She further stated, “My government understands the feeling among many that the offering of citizenship is a sacred right only to be bestowed upon persons born in Saint Lucia, even though our constitution makes provision for the granting of citizenship to persons by descent or by marriage.”
“Our laws also allow citizenship to persons who have proved themselves as worthy citizens by their commitment to our country, evidenced by their length of stay. The reality is that we do grant citizenship to persons who invest in our country and demonstrate a commitment to it,” she said.
Citizenship by investment programmes grant citizenship of a country to individuals who invest money to a country’s development.
Dominica, St.Kitts Nevis and Antigua Barbuda have already launched such programmes.