The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has described the front-page story carried in the Weekend Voice as politically motivated and blatantly anti-Saint Lucian.
The allegations within this story are manifestly untrue.
Last weekend, the Voice carried a story titled ‘CIP Under Fire – Specialist Cites Lack of Transparency’ written by Dr. Juerg Steffen of Henley and Partners, in which he made a number of wholly unfounded and baseless claims.
These claims are a repetition of the allegations made recently by Allen Chastanet, and raise disturbing questions about deliberate collusion between Henley and Partners and Chastanet, and therefore the true motivations behind these entirely groundless and shameful attacks.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party would first like to respond to the allegations with the following facts:
Claim: Dr. Steffen claims in the article that Parliament and the people of Saint Lucia were not consulted.
Fact: The passage of the Act was in fact one of the few instances in Parliament where every single member of the Lower House supported a Bill.
Furthermore, the Bill was presented to Parliament only after an open consultation, where the public was invited to comment on the Task Force Report.
Claim: Dr. Steffen alleges that Regulations and Guidelines were not provided for in the Task Force Report and cites the requirement for a qualifying net worth of USD3m and the offering of a bond option as evidence.
Fact: This is a direct contradiction of the Task Force Report itself. The Report specifically proposed a full range of options and emphasises the need to attract the highest-value investors to become citizens of Saint Lucia.
Claim: Dr. Steffen claims that there was no open tendering process, which he cites as evidence of a lack of transparency.
Fact: Henley and Partners themselves took part in a tendering process and made a live presentation to the CIP Board. Henley and Partners were offered a marketing contract and proceeded to negotiate for full and exclusive global rights. When not given what they requested they decided to withdraw.
Since Henley and Partners withdrew there has been a sustained attack on the CIP by Allen Chastanet and Henley. The SLP wishes to ask Mr. Allen Chastanet to inform the public whether there were any commitments made to Henley and Partners by the former UWP Government to award them the full, exclusive and global rights for a CIP if they had remained in Government?
And is this is therefore the basis for Henley and Partners’ disappointment? Is Henley a sponsor of the UWP election campaign?
Dr. Steffen’s claims are also in stark contrast with the views of the International Monetary Fund, which in February praised the CIP by stating that it, “welcomed the emphasis on transparency in the governing legislation, noting that the highest integrity standards could help prevent abuses of the program”.
Who should we believe? Henley and Allen Chastenent or the IMF?
The Saint Lucia Labour Party sees the article by Henley’s Managing Partner as a shameless attempt to engage in regime change in the region for the purpose of winning CIP contracts.
The people of this country deserve better.