Prime Minister of St Lucia Allen Chastanet.
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CASTRIES – The St Lucia government says the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) has contributed more than EC$130 million in revenue since it began a few years ago.
Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, delivering the EC$1.69 billion budget to Parliament on Tuesday night, said that as his administration plans on building a new St Lucia in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic “we must be open-minded.
“We must be prepared to examine non-traditional ways of attracting foreign investment to supplement domestic investment activities. It is from this perspective that we have accepted the Citizen by Investment Programme (CIP) as a viable means of attracting foreign investment.”
Under the CIP, several Caribbean governments have provided citizenship to foreign investors who make a substantial financial contribution to the socio-economic development of their islands.
Chastanet said that St Lucia and the other countries in the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) were not alone in seeking investments under the CIP, making reference also to Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, Malta and Turkey.
“Mr Speaker, since its commencement, the CIP has contributed EC$131.2 million to this country. At a time of dwindling sources of grant funding and an ever increasing demand for government services, government will leverage the demand for our passports, as a means of attracting foreign investment into St Lucia.”
But he said to remain competitive in this market, “one must continually make changes to the legislation governing the programme” and that’s why his administration recently made some fundamental changes to the Regulations and Principal Act.
Chastanet said most of those changes however, do not amend current prices but improves the island’s competitiveness.
“Government is pleased with the approach that the CIP Unit has used in focusing on the conduct of rigorous due diligence checks and working with our local law enforcement and the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) of CARICOM. The CIP programme will therefore be a critical element of our funding, in implementing the medium term development strategy,” Chastanet added. (CMC)