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TECHNOCRATS ADVISED! – CIP CEO Singled Out By Philip J. Pierre

Image of Leader of the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Philip J. Pierre & Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Programme, Nestor Alfred

POLITICAL Leader of the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Philip J. Pierre, is advising technocrats within the public service not to allow themselves to be used by politicians on either side of the political spectrum.

“Technocrats must remain technocrats,” Pierre said yesterday at a press conference.

Image of Phillip J Pierre
Leader of the Opposition, Phillip J Pierre

The advice was issued after Pierre was pressed to comment on the issue of alleged illegality in Parliament and the fact that Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Programme, Nestor Alfred, who, earlier this week, announced the number of foreigners awarded St. Lucian passports under the programme, information yet to be revealed in Parliament, as pertaining the laws governing the programme.

“It was not in Mr. Nestor’s remit to say how many citizens were given passports if the document has not been laid in the House,” Pierre said.

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He added: “The law states that it must be laid in the House every three months — it is clear. It has not been done, so if Mr. Nestor had spoken to me, if he is allowed to, I would have said to him (to) advise the Prime Minister to follow the law and put in the Parliament the names, addresses, (and) I think telephone numbers of the people who were granted citizenship. It was not in his remit to do what the law says the Prime Minister must do in the Parliament,” said Pierre.

“That is an advice I am giving in good faith to civil servants. Do not allow politicians, do not sing for politicians. Do your job as a technical person, report on the technical facts and allow politicians to deal with the politics of the matter, because civil servants are not paid by the politicians, they are being paid by the government of the country that gets its revenue from the taxpayers of this country,” Pierre added.

Image of Alfred (Photo by PhotoMike)
ALFRED (Photo by PhotoMike)

Alfred on Monday told reporters that the programme is in its third year of operation and that a lot of concerns have been expressed about the programme by the public. He emphasized that not many people understood the importance of the CIP to the country as a channel for foreign direct investment (FDI).

Alfred spoke highly of the programme, stating that its hallmark is its due diligence process with which the American, English and Canadian authorities are impressed.

“I want to make this very clear. If we want this programme to be successful, if we want the right investor to come into this country through the CIP, there is only one way to do this and that is by ensuring that we vet those people. Our vetting process may be one of the most vigorous that you can find in this region,” Alfred said.

He explained that St. Lucia hires third party firms, anywhere in the world, to do its due diligence work for it. However, before this is done, his office goes through a meticulous process of ensuring that the applicant is in compliance with St. Lucia’s policies and procedures regarding that aspect of the process.

Regarding the firms which do due diligence on behalf of St. Lucia, Alfred said they “go out as foot soldiers to establish who those people (applicants) are, where they live, who they hang out with, who are their associates, where their companies are, whether there are any bad press on their companies, their children or their spouses.”

“That information is accumulated and is sent to us. We do not just stop there; we go a bit further, which is where our international partners have said to us that before you make a decision to grant citizenship, you ensure that you have the intelligent information to make that decision.

“Those third party firms can only give you information that is contained on worldwide data bases. So if this person has been prosecuted, has had a criminal past, a database may give you that information. But with regards to whether that person has been followed on for money laundering, human trafficking, human smuggling, they cannot give you that information. It is only one person who could give you that information and that is law enforcement and, therefore, we will not make a decision until we obtain the vetting conclusions of our law enforcement,” Alfred said.

According to him, there have been instances “where we have gotten the all clear from our law enforcement and have declined citizenship from those persons because there may be relevant information those persons have not given us. For example, were they holders of a second passport? They may have withheld the fact that they are shareholders of six companies. They may have not told us that their spouse may have been arrested for some criminal matter. On that premise, irrespective whether they have been cleared by law enforcement, we would have denied them citizenship,” Alfred said, noting citizenship had been withdrawn from about four people to date.

Alfred said that 259 people had been granted citizenship for this financial year and just under 300 from the programme’s inception.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...


  1. This same advice should have been given to Kenny and yourself when you used Emrand Matthew and George Ragu in the town and village council audit. Furthermore Emrand Mathew was also involved in the unauthorized payment of Linquist I am hoping this government suspend these characters pending an investigation with the latter being grounds for immediate dismissal.

  2. For the benefit of the readership, consider next time citing the particular section or sub-section of the law.

    That might also have helped Mr. Pierre in, despite insisting that it is the law, not knowing what specifically was to be included in what was to be reported to Parliament, i.e. telephone numbers.

    Also, Mr. Pierre, despite claiming to have an MBA, does not appear to fully grasp the role of a civil servant, whether or not they are a technocrat or in any other capacity.

    Their duty is to serve the government to the best of their ability and provide informed and carefully developed information to the best of their abilities. Technocrats are not lawyers. It is not for the technocrat who provides the information to interpret the law. That said, the technocrats could certainly, if aware, add it in their correspondence as an observation and suggesting clarification by the legal branch. It is for the legal branch to provide counsel and clarification as necessary on what information must be released.

    Had Mr. Alfred received the question and was not clear as to the legislative requirement, it would have been easy enough to reply to the effect to defer on an answer and state that he would follow up. That said, as a CEO, he should have been very aware of the statutory requirements on reporting.

    In matters such as statutory reporting, there is no wiggle room.

    If Mr. Pierre is adamant that it is a statutory requirement, then he should have referred to the specific section of the law. And, if he did not immediately remember which specific section, that would be understandable, and he could have followed up forthwith to actually fully substantiate his ascertain with specifics, rather than and-I-think-phone-numbers. This, regrettably, came across as an off-the-cuff interview. He should know better.

    It would have been very easy for Mr. Pierre to get an Assistant to quickly pull together for him enough of a clear and concise briefing package such that he did not come across as having any particularly specific knowledge of the law he was speaking about, save and except for the reference to the three-month period.

    1. Calvin,
      You should stop the politics and allow yourself to think in the best interest of the island instead of just opposing everything a particular party says or does. As it relates to the CIP program if the law states that its must be laid in the house, then it should be done in accordance with the laws regardless of which political party is the government at the time. The issue of not stating the section of the law is of little importance, it is whether or not the law is being followed. Just in-case you were wondering, I have no party affiliation or interest, but I am a concerned citizen who believes in the rule of law.

      1. Andy, the comment has nothing to do with partisanship, you seem to have a heightened defensiveness in immediately playing the “political” card.

        Rather, it’s about members of the executive level (in this case, elected representatives) being adequately briefed and prepared. Substitute whatever name and whatever party, the comment remains the same.

        The reality is that media encounters for elected officials and those in the executive level are a weekly imperative that require a team effort, the elected official or executive level being the face to the media.

        In many western jurisdictions, elected officials received a 101 on effectively communicating with the media.

        And, again, that is independent of the party. As are the essentials in staff helping properly prep the elected official or executive for media encounters.

        God Bless.

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