ST. LUCIA-Government and opposition at odds over CIP


The St. Lucia government says it has introduced legislation to establish a national economic fund as well as strengthen oversight of the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) even as the opposition called for greater transparency on the matter.

Both the government and the main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) issued separate statements putting forward their positions on the CIP that several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have utilised as a means of attracting foreign investments in return for citizenship.

The government statement said that Prime Minister Allen Chastanet had during the Parliament meeting earlier this week introduced the legislation to establish the St. Lucia National Economic Fund as well as   strengthening oversight over the management of the CIP.

“This means that the government has corrected gross inadequacies in the legislation governing the use of CIP funds which was passed by the former administration,” the statement said, noting that the Citizenship by Investment Act passed in 2015 while allowing for the establishment of the fund it presently operates outside of the Consolidated Fund.

Chastanet said that the legislation identifies the Fund as a special fund that will be used to advance loans and provide investment for government approved capital projects, reduce debt, purchase government bonds or for monies required for a purpose approved by Cabinet.

The Fund will comprise of a board that would include the Director of Finance as chairperson, the budget director, chief economist, a representative from Invest St. Lucia, a representative from the Ministry of Commerce, a representative from the Attorney General’s Chambers and a representative from the private sector.

“The Board is expected to manage monies and the business of the fund; consider and approve an application for a loan or an investment in a Government approved capital project; monitor the use of the loan and ensure repayment of the loan, create and maintain a Sinking Fund and carry out other functions required for the proper functioning of the Fund.”

But in its statement, the SLP said Chastanet was misleading the population regarding the use of CIP funds and that during the last sitting of the Parliament he never mentioned in his presentation on the Estimates, nor in his budget statement, any project to be financed with CIP monies.

“The SLP rejects this backdoor way of seeking approval for the use of the funds from the CIP. The central issue is not how the Prime Minister intends to use monies to be earned from the CIP. This is a separate issue. The central issue is how has the CIP monies collected since 2016 been used by the Prime Minister,” the party said.

It called on Prime Minister Chastanet to present to Parliament “a statement of how much money was collected from the CIP Unit each year and what were the monies used for”.

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