UPDATED: Opposition MP calls for CIP to be discontinued

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UPDATED: Opposition MP calls for CIP to be discontinued
Hilaire
Castries South MP Dr. Ernest Hilaire.
Castries South MP Dr. Ernest Hilaire.

In light of recent changes made to the regulations of the Citizenship by Investment (CIP) , opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Ernest Hilaire is calling for the programme to be immediately discontinued.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, the former CIP chairman argued that the new changes places Saint ‎Lucia as a cheap island paradise, as against having it positioned as a high-level option ‎for citizenship.

More importantly, Hilaire said ‎the changes to the CIP regulations creates a greater level of uncertainty and poses a threat to the island’s national security, especially since it is no longer mandatory for investors through CIP to submit a police nor bankers’ reference.

The SLP spokesperson on business and investment also argued that the due diligence process was much more robust and rigid, but with these changes it has placed the entire programme in jeopardy.

Below is Dr. Hilaire’s full statement:

I want to start by stating clearly that the SLP Administration did announce that the Citizenship by Investment Program would be reviewed and where necessary amendments would be made.

This is usual in managing any programme and certainly a requirement for a sensitive initiative as the CIP. So the Labour Party is fully prepared to review and where necessary make suggestions to change the CIP.

What the UWP Administration has done is, that, within one year of operations without the CIP having even being given a chance to properly market and operate, to make some horrendous changes. Changes not to the Act, the substantive guiding principles but to the Regulations.

There is no doubt that the changes to the CIP Regulations as announced will introduce greater levels of uncertainty, scrutiny and security fears about the operations of the CIP.

Let us examine the changes and the consequences which lead me to expressing such a strong statement.

1. Amendment of Regulation 7.

This involves revoking subregulation 3. This provision, which required an Applicant to declare Net Worth of at least US$3Million, sought to ensure that only persons of a certain net worth would qualify for citizenship.

We did not think and still do not believe that we should allow anyone who can just afford the donation level of US$100,000 to qualify for citizenship. We boast that we are selling a lifestyle, that Saint Lucia is premium, that we are not cheap and a free for all, yet the Government proceeds to remove the one regulation that sought more than any other to restrict the CIP to high net worth individuals.

This is no longer a programme that seeks to attract high net worth individuals; Saint Lucia has become a cow which can be milked by any person with $100,000. Let us forget about high net worth, it is a programme for no worth!

It also involves revoking subregulation 7. This is pure madness! I am sorry but I can’t express in any gentler description. Did the Prime Minister read what he was signing?

Subregulation 7 reads “An Applicant for citizenship by investment must satisfy all conditions specified under Section 30 of the Act”

Now let us refer to Section 30 of the Act. This Section provides for the conditions which someone needs to satisfy to qualify. The consequence of this revocation is that it is now no longer mandatory for someone applying to provide the basic information on which an assessment can be made.

It is no longer mandatory to provide a police certificate from their country of origin; you do not even need a bankers reference to apply for citizenship, something that you require to apply for a VISA; the application does not even have to be in English, and does not have to be done by the applicant declaring that the information is correct.

If this is for real and the Prime Minister has signed an SI revoking Subregulation 7, then he has destroyed any semblance of common sense in the administration of the Saint Lucia CIP. On the basis of this change alone the CIP should be discontinued immediately.

1. Amendment of Regulation 9

This change serves to add a subregulation which provides for the Board of the CIP to retain 20% of each monetary contribution made to the National Economic Fund for marketing and promotion. There are two major issues with this change.

Firstly, the Act provides for the Unit to collect fees and it is the Unit which administers the Programme. Therefore why is it the Board which is empowered to retain 20% of all donations?

Secondly and, more importantly, the Act provides clearly what must be done with monies deposited in the National Economic Fund. Section 33 provides the answer. Monies must be deposited into the National Economic Fund and that the Minister MUST present to Parliament each year for its approval how these monies must be used.

The National Economic Fund should be placed within the Treasury with deposits going to the Consolidated Fund and used according to how Parliament has agreed. It is not for the Minister to announce through Regulations how the money is to be used.

Furthermore, the Minister must provide more information on marketing and promotion as suggested. Let me explain why. As it is constituted there are two marketing agencies that are promoting the CIP at their expense wherever it is agreed. In return for each applicant brought in, these agencies get 10% of the donation or the fees. So we need to ask the following –

⦁ Is the established marketing arrangements revoked?
⦁ If not, is the CIP paying 10% to marketing agencies then holding 20% for more marketing? This means for every $100,000 received, the people of Saint Lucia will only get $70,000 for a citizenship!!!
⦁ If so, why would you revoke an arrangement where you pay 10% to now collect 20% to spend on the same marketing? Is there any other agencies which will be receiving payments from the 20%?

1. Insertion of new Regulation 15
We agree with this as it was an oversight in the original Regulations.

2. Amendment of Schedule 1
We agree with this as it was an oversight in the original Regulations.

3. Amendment of Schedule 2 –

This is scandalous. The CIP was position as a high valued option for persons who want to be part of a select few. Therefore as noted by the Leader of the Opposition there were three fundamental provisions – a high net worth, a limit to 500 annually and a sufficiently high donation level.

This amendment together with the other changes makes Saint Lucia a cheap island paradise. It is shameful that the Government will boast that we are now cheaper than Dominica as our new selling tagline and position Saint Lucia as destination that has less value than the cheapest.

We boast of selling Jade Mountain, Ladera, Viceroy, Sandals and soon the Royalton at Cap Estate, all high end options, of being one of the world’s leading wedding and honeymoon destinations, of having world renowned beauty and attractions but we are reduced to be sold as the cheapest destination for citizenship.

Do you remember that it was the same Prime Minister when as Leader as the UWP in opposition said he was opposing the CIP because it had no transparency and accountability? That the Board must be an independent Board with no one appointed by politicians? That ALL the money of the CIP MUST go to the people of Saint Lucia? Remember?

Yet, the same person now as Prime Minister, as Minister responsible for Citizenship by Investment has appointed a Board in the same manner, with no changes to the Legislation to allow a Board appointed as he said is necessary.

The CIP Act requires that by the end of September 2016, a Report should have been presented to Parliament indicating who received citizenship, how much money was earned and what was it used for. To date the Prime Minister has failed to do so. Yet, the Prime Minister says that the CIP has earned EC$6 million but the Chairman of the CIP says it has earned almost US$4m (EC$10.8m).

Rather than meet the requirements for accountability and transparency, the UWP Government is making changes that bring shame and disgrace to Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia deserves better. The CIP changes are largely insulting and degrading to Saint Lucians.
Whatever happened to Brand Saint Lucia …is it no longer Simply Beautiful but now Simply Cheap?

(20)(35)

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21 COMMENTS

  1. When laba was in power you were heading it, remember juffalli, now its not good. POLITICIANS again. Hilaire shut up and go hide under a rock.

    (1)(4)

  2. Which goes to prove that those darn SLP jokers did not understand CIP, and not even up to now. Something so far-reaching was purposely hidden from the public. As is their won't, they gave the natives the short end of the stick with a fait accompli. Greed got the better of them. These clearly are not people with any depth of character. Frivolous superficial copycats!

    No one lives forever. No one remains in power forever. Maurice Bishop's body cannot be found today. Fidel Castro's long-winded speeches can no longer be made. The SLP Circus, that dog and pony show has packed up. Why not then put some genuine effort into protecting Saint Lucians, rather than just settling for the 39 pieces of silver?

    (2)(6)

  3. $100.000 US for St. Lucian citizenship is nonsense. PM Chastanet is now making it too easy for drug dealers, terrorists and others to become citizens of St. Lucia. He went as far as exempting them from being on the island to take the oath. What a joke?

    We will soon be an overpopulated island of drug dealers and terrorists. It won’t be investment but cheap St. Lucian passports for sale. The PM moves have given credence to the 60 minutes story on the CIP program in the Caribbean islands.

    (6)(0)

  4. This man have the country as one desperate beggar. Then again that would be reducing the integrity of beggars. Normally they ask for and accepts only significant handouts.

    Stop blaming SLP for this debacle unfolding before our very eyes. Chastanet found a dough half kneaded. He knew that but the big man that he is he will seek nor take advise from the original handlers but will race ahead with rolling the dough with letting prove. It will be a miracle if any of us enjoy and is satisfied by that bread. It is positioned to fall flat.

    (4)(0)

  5. People....it's not the same agreement. This agreement has been watered down to a fire sale. Look at the two agreements and see for yourselves. It's ingenious of some of you on this board to think otherwise. Country first....not Laba or flambeau.. I will maintain my opposition to this no matter who is in power.. criticize the messenger but the differences in the message is clear cut and cannot be disputed.

    (7)(0)

  6. Anti Corruption Act needed if you were in charge of government you would have done worst. I feel your pain Hellair. K.D.A played that trick already maybe you did not learn well enough to master the art you were taught. So now since you are not there you like at West Indies Cricket Board you want the present CEO to lose her job too. So you have a track record of free rides. Good luck

    (1)(3)

  7. Hilaire made some very good points but sounded unrealistic when he made reference to parliament approval. Dr. Hilaire, don't you know that in parliament the ayes always have it, and the ayes represent the party? Come on Dr. Hilaire be real. Your close lawyer friends will no longer be entitled to obtain legal fees, and that is your real problem. You are also annoyed that the CEO is beginning to speak the UWP language in the media. How sad. The CIP must go on, Dr. Hilaire.

    (5)(6)

  8. Market tested just like his almost lost campaign. This guy is all stealth marketing and maneuvering. With his ready-made press secretary always at his side, even while she works within a statutory body, Hillaire is willing to curve into all shapes and sizes to gain political ground. He should obviously take some google ads and disturb my internet surfing into the darkest quehns of the web in order to reach me with this nonsense. The same dude who was at the heart and head of CIP now wants to totally do away with it and disavow it based on his own planted negative stories about it? Hillaire probably designed the original CIP which gave birth to the current CIP. And to think that forty less votes and this crass ploy to get public attention away from the most unpriministerial voice ever given a politician who should not be prime minster would be silenced. BY THE WAY....WHERE IS THE REAL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION???

    (4)(12)

  9. I think this opposition oppose everything, good or bad they oppose. I think Hiliare and pirrie and all those guys want St Lucia to fail. They oppose cutting vat tax, they oppose DSH, Now oppose fixing CIP, yea you cannot be in opposition and still be the government. I think you all want St lucian to died. I'm not saying you sale St Lucia for cheap soup, but you don't want cheap soup expensive soup no soup at all, yea you all that listening to Hilliare and slp get ready to eat your last and died.

    (10)(15)

  10. Can someone post a cut and paste of Regulation 7 and Sub regulation 3? I like to read for myself. I don't like others telling me what is in a document. Better yet, let the press publish the two sections of the Regulations.

    NB: Please refer to previous articles by putting CIP in the search box.

    (6)(0)

  11. Someone must take a stand for this country. We the people want to be part of decision making. I personally support dumping the program ..

    (15)(8)

  12. Hilaire, I do not usually support what you say but i certainly agree. Our country is not for sale. We need extensive dialogue and public consultation before any government does things behind closed doors. It is so disappointing that from one government to the next, a country can't trust its leaders.

    Remember leaders, stop taking the lay man as a fool. We need greater transparency. We DENOUNCE the sale of our passports to white collar and other criminals. Our crime situation is a mess here. Let us work to FIX it rather than complicate this mess.

    (22)(10)

  13. Bro. if it is discontinued they will still be coming in for $0.00 after they have purchased it from Dominica. What is your point. Kenny and Claudius went to Dominica yesterday to talk to the Dominica PM about it?

    (14)(13)

  14. This entire CIP program (with or without changes) is an escape for unimaginative politicians. The big idea is to prostitute those smaller states and in return receive some coins. There is moral line in everything we do. Would you sell the pitons? Shameless people. Morally handicapped.

    (28)(4)

  15. You guys are against development. You embraced CIP under SLP now you are asking to discontinue it because it is working against your chance of one day being a Minister of Government. You will not spend a second term as an MP. You will have to resign in opposition. DSH for VFORT. No stopping us now.

    (16)(27)

    • You simpleton! DSH with all its downsides can be separated from CIP. Obtuse thinkers can not make that distinction, elements of which by way of legislation, can be made retro-actively. CIP represents dumb politicians from start to finish and on all sides. Saint Lucians are just dumb partisan voters. We are living in a fool's paradise.

      (23)(3)

      • Why let this guys put you off. Initially it was about the land. Now that the Kenny Agreement is made public where much more of our land would have been sold or lease under their administration, they are now against their own CIP. WHy didn't they ask to increase it back?

        (8)(4)

    • Is that guy for real? Jesus Christ .... Bro listen stay in your section and shut up you hypocrite.... Now you opposition the programme is an issue.... Smh ... Disgusting..

      (10)(8)

      • Read carefully . . . it is insane because of the wholesale changes that has been made to facilitate DSH. I totally agree with Hilaire in this case.

        (10)(1)

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