Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has declared that the government had no choice but to launch a Citizenship by Investment (CIP) programme here.
Chastanet noted that four other OECS countries had already launched the programme.
“It means that a person can get a passport from Dominica for one hundred thousand dollars, or get a passport from Grenada, St Kitts or Antigua and have the full rights of being here – they got OECS citizenship,” the PM said.
Chastanet noted that some of the Chinese who came here to open restaurants received their passports through Dominica.
“They came in as an OECS person to invest in Saint Lucia and we cannot prevent them from coming in,” the PM stated.
He observed that the Prime Minister already has the authority to grant citizenship.
“So for me, we are past that point,” Chastanet said.
He said the critical point was how to set up a system to satisfy concerns about the CIP.
Chastanet recalled that a lot of people had said that he was against the CIP because he was criticizing Ernest Hilaire.
However he said he had always spoken about the need for the programme.
“My issue was that Ernest Hilaire was the High Commissioner in the UK embroiled in a scandal called Juffali and the worst thing that he did is that he gave a person a diplomatic passport,” the PM asserted.
He said Saint Lucians only found out about the diplomatic passport with news of Walid Juffali’s divorce case.
He declared that Saint Lucians would have been none the wiser about Juffali’s diplomatic passport otherwise.
“How then can you take a man who was involved in that scandal, put him now as the Chairman of the CIP – oh yes and by the way, everybody knew that Ernest was going to run; so here you have a person who was also going to be a politician.”
The PM asserted that his issue had to do with Ernest Hilaire’s involvement.
“All we asked for was for Ernest to resign as Chairman,” he said.
He stated that his United Workers Party (UWP) had asked the then government to allow the party to participate in the policy of the CIP.
However Chastanet noted that when it came to the CIP regulations, everything was shrouded in secrecy.
The Prime Minister spoke last night during the DBS Television programme – Talk, with host -Rick Wayne.