Invest St. Lucia was created for investments of all purposes, so why has this administration created a separate office to oversee the Citizens by Investment Programme at an alleged cost of nearly EC$1million annually with the Chairman earning a salary well in excess of a public servant of that standing.
Mr McHale Andrew is equally qualified and has greater practical experience than the appointed chairman of CIP with a well-equipped office and staff at his fingertips who can easily find the time to deal with the preliminary issues of CIP. These are the areas which create rising public sector wages which continue to grow despite the negative growth for the last four years and declining revenue streams.
This whole CIP has more bark than bite as basically St. Lucia is twenty years behind this effort and secondly, this administration remains in the process of fine-tuning the venture at this stage.
Thirdly, in this day and age where opportunities are rife, investors will not come aboard unless the conditions set forth are as clear as daylight and by the PM’s own disclosure in Monaco; he articulated that he is willing to work with prospective investors as the venture unfolds. This approach by investors’ remains flawed, as such an approach shows signs of ill-preparedness and immaturity.
Fourthly, requesting investors to place US $500,000 in an escrow account interest free for three years and additional proof that the individual’s net worth is no less than US$3 million, sounds great but any realistic St. Lucian will immediately recognise that this approach is a non-starter.
Fifthly, islands like St. Kitts alone have concluded some 40,000 CIP transactions which ultimately permit those individuals to hold OECS passports and anyone of those persons can invest here in St. Lucia without going through the proposed formula. Those of us hoping for some great influx of investors overnight should start revisiting our enthusiasm to avoid any major disappointments.
St. Lucians should be fully aware that over the last thirty years a number of individuals have been appointed as ambassadors in various countries and to the best of my knowledge the nation has not received any formidable investments as a result of these embassies. It strikes me therefore that this administration and any future administration should seriously consider compensating those ambassadors on a performance basis rather than a direct emolument as those huge salaries are slowly crippling the nation.