St Lucia PM called on to adhere to economic citizenship law
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia — During his weekly television broadcast last week, former Saint Lucia government minister, Richard Frederick, called on Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to follow the law in relation to the country’s citizenship by investment programme (CIP).
Frederick said that the current government has a track record of paying scant regard to legislation, which was further manifested in last Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Assembly, when Chastanet attempted to present the annual report on the CIP that the law requires.
“As required I want to be able to make a presentation on the results of our CIP to date. So far there have been 38 applicants to the program, comprising 114 individuals. Three applicants have been denied, two denials reversed on appeal, and there are 14 applications pending as we stand today.
“The shortest processing time has been 39 days; the longest processing time has been 153 days. The average processing time has been 73 days.
“We have received 20 applications from the Middle East, three applications from Russia, three applications from Asia, and nine applications from the rest of the world. Seventeen applications have been granted, granting 61 individual citizenships,” Chastanet told parliament.
“He said he is reporting as required, required by what? The only piece of legislation requiring reporting by the prime minister is the act governing the CIP,” Frederick noted.
He explained that the relevant section of the CIP Act reads as follows:
24(1)… the minister shall not later than three months after the submission lay the same in Parliament.
(2) Information contained in the report referred to in subsection (1) shall include –
…the names, addresses and nationalities of successful applicants and any qualifying dependants included in the applications;
Frederick, who was an elected member of parliament when the law was passed in 2015, pointed out that it is worded in that way “so we know who we are dealing with and who carries our passports and nationality”.
“Where is the rest of the world? Timbuktu? This is unacceptable,” he said.
“Mr Prime Minister, I’m literally begging you to follow the law. The law says you tell Saint Lucians the name and addresses of those people, please do so,” he continued.
Frederick went on to deal with a multibillion-dollar project in Saint Lucia funded by the CIP, Desert Star Holdings (DSH), which involves Chinese promoters, but up to now the government has not officially released the agreement with DSH.
DSH is a Cayman Islands-registered affiliate of a Hong Kong-based thoroughbred horse company run by Teo Ah Khing, an architect and entrepreneur who founded the China Horse Club. The ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ project is valued at over US$2.6 billion and occupies a 700 acre site in the south of Saint Lucia.
“Although our qualifying investment in this country is US$100,000 – a race to the bottom it was called by the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda – the Chinese with the DSH deal say to get the passport you need to pay $300,000, which is what their minimum qualification amount is,” he revealed.
According to Frederick, based on the DSH cash flow projections, they are targeting 9,106 passports, which at US$300,000 each will total over US$2.7 billion, more than what is required for the development
“The Chinese are putting in nada (nothing),” he said, noting, “The cash flow statements are showing a minimum of 156 percent profit.”