Former Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee has called on the government to clear the air regarding online reports that Saint Lucia will likely lose its visa-free access to the United Kingdom.
Fedee spoke one day after Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced Wednesday that Dominica passport holders now need a visa to travel to and transit the UK due to concerns regarding Dominica’s Citizenship By Investment (CBI) scheme.
Fedee said what happened to Dominica was sad and should serve as a wake-up call to the Saint Lucia government.
“The government has got to come out and to say, look, the reports that are swirling around, whether those reports are true that Saint Lucia is likely to also lose its visa-free access,” the former Saint Lucia Minister told reporters.
Fedee said that given the government’s penchant for Facebook posts, he was surprised that the labour administration had not clarified the issue.
Fedee, the second Deputy Political Leader of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) declared that some people are anxious regarding the possibility of Saint Lucia losing its visa-free access sometime in the summer.
He asserted that Saint Lucia had made some fundamental errors that threatened to undermine the integrity of the country’s passport and the reputation of its citizens.
“The international community has always expressed concern about the transparency of banks in Iran and it is a fundamental mistake that the government has made to allow Iranian applications to come back into the programme,” Fedee told reporters.
He described the move as a fatal error, highlighting a government thinking only of the money and not its citizens.
In addition, Fedee said it was a fundamental error for the Saint Lucia government to take as long as it did to bar Russians from the Citizenship By Investment programme amid the war with Ukraine.
He explained that it sent the wrong message to Saint Lucia’s diplomatic allies.
And Fedee recalled that Saint Lucia woke up one morning to discover that a Saudi billionaire had a diplomatic passport but did no work.
“Just because he had enough money to buy a diplomatic passport from Saint Lucia. And we woke up when we heard that Mr. (Walid) Juffali was the representative for Saint Lucia on the International Maritime Organization,” he noted.
According to the former Minister, all such things undermine the credibility of any country, its citizens, its government, and the chain of democracy.