Press Statement by Senator Dominic Fedee

St. Lucians Could Lose Visa-Free Access to EU and UK

St. Lucians could lose their visa-free access to Europe and other parts of the world as a result of the scandalous decision by the SLP-led administration not to sign an agreement with other jurisdictions that offer Caribbean Citizenship by Investment.

Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts Nevis, Dominica and Grenada all signed a Memorandum of Agreement which required them to establish a minimum rate of USD200, 000 for the donation component of respective CBI programs.

Some provisions of the MOA, among others are as follows:

  1. A) Exchange of best practices and due diligence processes;
  2. B) Enhance transparency by disclosing funds;
  3. C) Conduct independent financial and operational audits.

The guidelines are cited by the European Union and other traditional allies for improving security and other concerns of the CBI programs in the Caribbean.

However, Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre has said that St. Lucia has some contractural obligations that bar the country from signing the MOA which seeks to strengthen the program.  The Prime Minister has not identified the specific obligations but it is clear that St. Lucia’s reputation has been called into question by this ill-advised move to prioritize short term financial interest.

The question is “whose interest is the prime minister protecting while putting the integrity of our passports at risk?” We demand frank and full disclosure of this misguided secret. We deserve the full details of this conspiracy which undermines a sacred right of all citizens- their passport.

Questions also loom large over St. Lucia’s seriousness in addressing international anxieties provoked by its CIP program. Even before this administration’s assumption of control of the levers of power, international trepidations abound about CIP.  A very sharp concern was the price at which it was sold with the cheapest route for Lucian passport glory at USD100,000. However, government must clear up speculation on whether it deliberately allowed a certain developer to under-price below the USD100,000 mark. It must also clarify speculation in the CIP marketplace that it entered into an illegal agreement with a certain developer to sell passports via an infrastructure route.

This is not the first time the St. Lucia Labour Party has been on the wrong side of the clean-up CIP debate. Quite recently the SLP administration allowed citizens from sanctioned riddled Iran, to resume applications to the St. Lucia Scheme, and it was the last government in the region to suspend Russian applications failing to show initial support for Western Allies in the Ukraine- Russian war. Even though the strength of the CIP program is the VISA free access to many of these western Countries.

Not so long-ago Dominicans were slammed with a historic VISA requirement for travel to the UK due to security and other concerns of their Citizen by Investment scheme. At least, Grenada, Antigua and St. Kitts Nevis seem to have learnt from Dominica’s ordeal while the Philip J Pierre administration still lives in denial.

The SLP administration has also missed out on a great opportunity to maximize the yield from the CIP by refusing to sign the MOA. For quite sometime Caribbean countries have engaged in a race to the bottom forgoing billions of revenue as each island tries to outdo its neighbour on price lacks due diligence. The result has been mounting concerns by the USA, UK and EU over risks of money laundering, terrorism and other sins of applicants to the five programs of the Caribbean.

St Lucia, therefore, must act in its national interest with a real urgency of now, and protect the sacredness of the visa free access that we all enjoy to many allies throughout Europe and the UK. The very survival of the CIP scheme depends on prioritizing the interest of non-CIP citizens, before we lose the very essence of what the program sells- VISA free access.

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