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Gov’t to relaunch Citizenship by Investment Program

By SNO Staff

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Government has plans to restructure and relaunch Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP).

This announcement was made by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on Wednesday evening during an appearance on News Maker Live with host Timothy Poleon on DBS Television.

Chastanet said, “We are currently reviewing the structure of CIP. We are hoping that by November, we will be able to relaunch CIP. We have a big meeting on Thursday, where we will look at that.”

At present, Saint Lucia’s CIP is divided mainly into three parts, the first being a donation of US$200,000 for a person to get citizenship through an investment. Persons can also invest US$350,000, where the government makes US$50,000 and the investor is allowed to sell the investment after five years. The third option, is where the investor places US$500,000 into a bond and receive zero interest for five years, along with full citizenship.

The prime minister said however that his government is reviewing those three options, and it is also looking at what is happening in the region, because Dominica has now become the dominant leader in selling citizenship.

“But the critical thing here is what is the purpose of all this? What are we trying to do with all of this? My government’s case, is that CIP should be revenue to go directly to the state, in terms of creating investment, reducing debt or helping to pay for social programmes,” Chastanet explained.

But based on the current discussions regarding CIP, the prime minister said his Cabinet is not 100 percent convinced that what Saint Lucia is offering right now can do that.

“We will have a meeting with lawyers and other officials…We have met with major agents from all over the world and we will be having a conference call with them next week,” he added.

When questioned if he is worried that Saint Lucia may have to make its CIP programme more competitive, given recent reports that the Saint Kitts and Nevis government is moving to speed up the application process for investors, Chastanet said it is something to look at.

However, Chastanet said there is need for harmonization, explaining that while some prime ministers in other Caribbean islands have expressed a willingness to do that, some might not be interested.

“We are now trying to compete among ourselves. I just hope that we do not lose sight of the risks,” he said.

The prime minister did admit that other islands are offering more competitive CIP packages, but said at the end of the day, people are primarily looking at the access that the passport can give to them.

Saint Lucia became the fifth Eastern Caribbean nation to introduce CIP in January of this year.

The United States government has warned regional countries offering the CIP, to refrain from issuing “unless the issuing government is confident beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual is a bona fide applicant”.

So far there has been tremendous interest in several projects precisely because of Saint Lucia’s tourism product.

(11)(0)
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11 comments

  1. Sold for twenty-one pieces of silver. We are being sold and eventually will be walked over. How can a poor St Lucian compete with a rich foreigner who automatically buys the same rights that the ordinary poor native enjoys ?

    (1)(0)
  2. the youth are watching, they ain't afraid any more be very care full.

    (4)(0)
  3. Mafia business that... he tried opposing but saw the monetary profit and now he is all for it! these guys are desperate and will do and say anything to prove, including prostituting the place to score cheap political points to protect their false pride and ego. with a complete lack of vision and understanding to do anything positive for the country and the younger generation!

    (17)(5)
  4. Yay! Say goodbye to our Schengen visa waiver. Soon even other Caricom countries will put visas on us.

    (6)(4)
  5. Now Chastanet is starting to confuse me. Didn't he oppose to this when he was in the opposition? Did he oppose just for opposing sake?

    P.S. I still await the "total" removal of VAT that he promised.

    (15)(4)
    • To be honest,I don't think he was ever quite totally against it. From my recollections, I think he did mention that he was against it in it's current form and was convinced that it needed a bit of restructuring (similar to what he said about social programs such as NICE and STEP), which is what he seems to be alluding to here in the present.

      (7)(3)
    • he never said the "total" removal of vat and he is trying to fix a bad system. he wants proper vetting and research. it is a good way to raise money so he can help lower vat and pay for other projects but not at the expense of letting criminals get passports. other nations are doing it and he wants to learn from their mistakes. do you make important decisions without research and thought? the people want lower taxes and better govt but some want to complain (slp) before giving him a chance to study the situation.

      (1)(17)
      • It was stated that the government will first implement a "reduction" in VAT and will continue to "reduce" the VAT until it is completely eliminated. I heard it many times from Mr. Chastanet and Mr. Ubaldus Raymond. It was very exciting news, All I am saying is that I am waiting for this to happen knowing that this is extremely difficult to implement and may have been another politician "sweet talking" the nation for votes.

        As my name states....I have an open mind. I see no sides. I just want to see the promises kept.

        (14)(0)
      • swear I heard him say "reduction and eventual removal of vat"

        (5)(0)
  6. proceed with caution. some of these CIP's are used by criminals to launder and hide illegal funds

    (5)(3)

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