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Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ubaldus Raymond has defended Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s foreign travels as discussions continue as to whether these trips have brought any real benefit to Saint Lucia.
Speaking to the media on November 13, Raymond said that Chastanet’s travels as prime minister have resulted in a heightened interest in investment in St. Lucia.
The Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) is among the sectors that he said has largely benefitted from the prime minister’s trips.
“St. Lucia has signed unto a number of treaties…organizations, and it is required of us to, as ministers, to be part of discussion, workshops, conferences. We were perhaps the last to establish the CIP in the Caribbean which means that we have to, as a country, be aggressive in terms of marketing that product,” he said.
“…The prime minister has been on the road trying his best to promote that programme and I can say to you that based on the numbers we have seen so far we are becoming successful. We are seeing interests in our programme because the presence of a prime minister selling the CIP is very, very important. We cannot sit in our chairs; we cannot sit idly by and expect investors to come to St. Lucia. We have to go out there and meet them. And we have seen a heightened interest in investment in St. Lucia. We have a pipeline of investments that will be unfolded very soon,” he said.
Raymond further stated that the travel of ministers to represent St. Lucia are also necessary and are part of government’s plan to steady the country’s economy.
“We as a government decided that we have to put policies and programmes in place to stabilise the economy. And we recognise that we are also living in a very different world. Change happens outside of St. Lucia and if change occurs outside we have to go where change is. That’s why it is very important that we as ministers, including the prime minister, must engage with the change movers or the movers of change that are located outside of St. Lucia.”
In early January, Chastanet had shot down insinuations that his frequent overseas trips were meaningless and there had been not one single investment coming out of them.
He had said that his foreign trips were necessary and would bear fruit in many sectors.
The gains of his travels would include the multi-million dollar Desert Star Holdings Limited (DSH) project, he said.