On Thursday April 6, 2017, the Saint Lucia Labour Party released a press statement in the wake of the Opposition’s walkout of the House of Assembly two days earlier. This was all precipitated because of the removal from the Order Paper of a motion by Hon. Ernest Hilaire challenging the government’s CIP (Citizenship by Investment Program) amendments.
Notwithstanding all the brouhaha about the legality of the motion’s removal, it is the right of the Opposition to debate and disagree with the Speaker’s actions, if they so choose. That procedural kerfuffle will be sorted out eventually and is best left for the procedures and arguments in the House.
Going back to that press release, it has raised some red flags which must be examined in the context of other similar actions by members of the SLP. These actions have been high profile and garnered much public attention which could lead any reasonable person to conclude there is a rather peculiar self destructive behaviour which surfaces when they are in opposition.
At a political meeting on the Castries Market steps, and in the wake of the SLP defeat at the polls in 2006, Dr. Kenny Anthony made the ominous threat that he would write to foreign investors encouraging them not to invest in Saint Lucia under the then UWP administration. This caused much hue and cry and received media coverage throughout the region and elsewhere.
Was Saint Lucia’s economic decline soon after a direct result of Dr. Anthony’s threats? In 2011 the SLP were again re-elected into office. Ironically, were the economic woes which led to their demise at the polls in 2016 related to the very same utterings of Dr. Anthony? No one has asked him directly and it continues to remain a burning question. Therefore I ask, Dr. Kenny Anthony, did you in fact write to, or communicate with any foreign investors discouraging them from investing in Saint Lucia in the wake of your Market steps threat?
Not to be outdone, soon after the SLP loss at the June 2016 polls, Hon. Philip J. Pierre became the new agent provocateur. In a letter to Saint Lucia Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, dated September 19, 2016, he articulated the SLP’s concerns, and requested that ‘deliberate consideration’ be given to withdrawing the nomination of the former Minister of National Security, Guy Mayers, as the appointee to the post of High Commissioner to the UK.
The letter expressed concern that Mayers, by virtue of his role as Minister of National Security in 2011, was central to the then government’s policy which led to the alleged extrajudicial killing of twelve persons during the police anti-crime campaign dubbed – Operation Restore Confidence.
“It is difficult to accept that with the matter still unresolved, how appropriate can it be for the Minister who had oversight of the operation to be recommended for accreditation to a principal diplomatic posting,” Philip J. Pierre wrote.
In an almost incomprehensible fashion, instead of keeping local politics, local, the letter was copied to the British High Commission. Rudimentary speculation of this act would suggest to any dullard that the intention was clearly to convey these sentiments to the British government and in some way negatively influence the confirmation of Guy Mayers as Saint Lucia’s High Commissioner to the UK. In unapologetic fashion his appointment was confirmed by the Queen, and Guy Mayers presented his Letter of Commissioner, on February 21, 2017 – one day before Saint Lucia’s 38th. anniversary of independence.
Getting back to last week’s press release by the SLP – Of particular eye-opening importance are the last three paragraphs which defy any logic or sensibility. They leave the reader with almost no other conclusion that the target audience is square in the sights of any foreigner intending to make an investment through our CIP (Citizenship by Investment Program).
Oozing ludicrous threats brought on by what can only be seen as delusions of omnipotence and perceived grandeur, it goes on and on to portend dire consequences to anyone acquiring citizenship via the program under the UWP administration. It states:
“The SLP and other concerned parties are not in agreement with these changes, as these changes will undoubtedly undermine the national security safeguards which were embedded in the setting up of the CIP.”
How will these changes undermine national security when the applicants will still be subject to the same due diligence ? In fact these changes are already law!
“Without any hesitation, when the Labour Party resumes office, we will reinstate the net worth requirement and will undertake another due diligence assessment on each and every application granted under the UWP, with our promise to revoke any passports of applicants, who do not meet the $3 million net worth requirement or does not meet the strict due diligence requirements which Saint Lucians expect.”
Isn’t it a little presumptuous to be talking about when you get back into office less than one year into this current administration? What will be the basis for that new due diligence assessments and who will pay for them? Under what legal grounds will you revoke any passports of applicants when they would have complied with the legal requirements at the time of their applications?
“Applicants applying for citizenship in St Lucia should be warned that when the SLP is returned to office, we will also demand that all citizens who did not donate the full contribution amount of USD 200,000, will be compelled to top up the contribution that they made at the time of becoming citizens.”
Who died and made you GOD? Since when does the word of the SLP equate to the be-all and end-all of what happens in Saint Lucia? You were voted out of office on June 6, 2017 in favour of the policies of another administration – has that not yet sunk in? How will you compel anyone to do anything, when they complied with the requirement of law at the time of their application?
“For the sanctity of our citizenship, we do not tolerate any applicants who do not meet the first-class standard that we expect from individuals seeking citizenship in St. Lucia.”
Who is we, the SLP? Have you not understood that policies you implement can be changed, the same way you have done with those policies you wished to change from a previous administration?
The arrogance and self aggrandizement emanating from that last line is palpable and thick enough to cut with a knife. With these examples which have been made blatantly public, one is only left to wonder what other measures have been taken over the years to undermine the very country these men of honour claim to love so dearly.
Why would anyone attempt to undermine the confidence in CIP when it is apparent to everyone, even a one-legged dog, that Saint Lucia is desperately in need of such investments. In fact it is the very reason why the previous SLP administration implemented CIP, to block many holes with much more than $5.
Lo and behold, when the CIP was criticized by Allen Chastanet in January 2016, this is what Dr. Kenny Anthony had to say in a press statement:
“This is a disrespectful and offensive statement. It attacks the integrity of every single person involved in the CIP from the members of the Board to the employees of the Unit. When a statement like that is made, it is clear that Chastanet wants to destroy the programme. His objective is to discourage badly needed investment in our country, and ultimately to prevent the programme from getting off the ground. The question is this: Why does Allen Chastanet want to harm our country?
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Ironically these very same words would be quite appropriate in response to the current statement by the SLP.
These companies conducting due diligence on applicants to our Citizenship by Investment Programme are the same ones being used now. Is the SLP now suggesting they are no longer capable of providing the same world renowned ‘Intelligent information for businesses and professionals’?
Something is rather troubling about the modus operandi of the SLP when they are relegated to the office of Opposition. Is it simply a case of sour grapes after a loss at the polls, or is it just some misguided sense of entitlement from which they cannot extricate themselves unless they’re dragged away kicking and screaming?
Connect the dots.
This is the government’s response to the threats of citizenship revocation:Conditions under which Citizenship by Investment Decisions may be revoked
(Each following document has two pages. Click arrow at bottom left of document for second page)SLP Letter to Prime Minister and British High Commission
SAINT LUCIA LABOUR PARTY STATEMENT ON CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT REGULATIONS FOLLOWING SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE ACTIONS