United Workers Party (UWP) leader, Allen Chastanet, has warned that transparency and due diligence must the watchwords, if Saint Lucia is to avoid the possibility of security risks linked to terrorism, money laundering or other criminal activity linked to its Citizen by Investment Programme (CIP).
Chastanet sounded the warning in a December 16, 2015 letter to civil society organizations here inviting them to demand that the government make several changes to the CIP.
Among the changes Chastanet is requesting that the organizations demand is the creation of an independent and autonomous Board representative of civil society to oversee the programme.
“Board members’ independence and the Board’s autonomy must be supported by legislation,” the UWP leader said in his letter.
According to Chastanet, there must be separate accounting for all revenue and expenditure generated by the CIP and the financials must be presented to Parliament on an annual basis.
“All funds received under the programme must be earmarked for use in debt reduction and or capital expenditure and not recurrent expenditure and more importantly use of all funds must be clearly stipulated,” he asserted.
Chastanet observed that the Saint Lucia government has been under intense scrutiny over the past several weeks, concerning the “seemingly unmeritorious” grant of diplomatic status to Saudi national, Doctor Walid Juffali.
The UWP leader also referred to Juffali’s “spurious” appointment as this country’s representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Chastanet’s letter described Doctor Ernest Hilaire, the Chairman of the board of the CIP, as the “architect” of Juffali’s appointment.
“The programme cannot be run by Party hacks much less to have a Chairman of the Board whose judgment and integrity we must now seriously question and who is widely known to be considering a run for political office. In our view, the programme will continue to be tarnished as long as Dr. Hilaire is associated with it and continues to promote it as Chairman of the Board. “