Doctor Ernest Hilaire’s statement on CIP

Doctor Ernest Hilaire’s statement on CIP

Press Release:-Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

Allow me to join the Leader of the Opposition and Political Leader of the Labour Party in wishing everyone a happy new year as we look forward to working with you in 2017 in our service to the People of Saint Lucia.

I want to start by stating clearly that the SLP Administration did announce that the Citizenship by Investment Program would be reviewed and where necessary amendments would be made. This is usual in managing any programme and certainly a requirement for a sensitive initiative as the CIP. So the Labour Party is fully prepared to review and where necessary make suggestions to change the CIP.

What the UWP Administration has done is, that, within one year of operations without the CIP having even being given a chance to properly market and operate, to make some horrendous changes. Changes not to the Act, the substantive guiding principles but to the Regulations.

There is no doubt that the changes to the CIP Regulations as announced will introduce greater levels of uncertainty, scrutiny and security fears about the operations of the CIP.

Let us examine the changes and the consequences which lead me to expressing such a strong statement.

  • Amendment of Regulation 7.

 

This involves revoking subregulation 3. This provision, which required an Applicant to declare Net Worth of at least US$3Million,   sought to ensure that only persons of a certain net worth would qualify for citizenship. We did not think and still do not believe that we should allow anyone who can just afford the donation level of US$100,000 to qualify for citizenship.

We boast that we are selling a lifestyle, that Saint Lucia is premium, that we are not cheap and a free for all, yet the Government proceeds to remove the one regulation that sought more than any other to restrict the CIP to high net worth individuals. This is no longer a programme that seeks to attract high net worth individuals; Saint Lucia has become a cow which can be milked by any person with $100,000.

Let us forget about high net worth, it is a programme for no worth!

It also involves revoking subregulation 7. This is pure madness! I am sorry but I can’t express in any gentler description. Did the Prime Minister read what he was signing?

Subregulation 7 reads “An Applicant for citizenship by investment must satisfy all conditions specified under Section 30 of the Act”

Now let us refer to Section 30 of the Act. This Section provides for the conditions which someone needs to satisfy to qualify. The consequence of this revocation is that it is now no longer mandatory for someone applying to provide the basic information on which an assessment can be made.

It is no longer mandatory to provide a police certificate from their country of origin; you do not even need a bankers reference to apply for citizenship, something that you require to apply for a VISA; the application does not even have to be in English, and does not have to be done by the applicant declaring that the information is correct.

If this is for real and the Prime Minister has signed an SI revoking Subregulation 7, then he has destroyed any semblance of common sense in the administration of the Saint Lucia CIP. On the basis of this change alone the CIP should be discontinued immediately.

Amendment of Regulation 9

 

This change serves to add a subregulation which provides for the Board of the CIP to retain 20% of each monetary contribution made to the National Economic Fund for marketing and promotion. There are two major issues with this change.

Firstly, the Act provides for the Unit to collect fees and it is the Unit which administers the Programme. Therefore why is it the Board which is empowered to retain 20% of all donations?

Secondly and, more importantly, the Act provides clearly what must be done with monies deposited in the National Economic Fund. Section 33 provides the answer. Monies must be deposited into the National Economic Fund and that the Minister MUST present to Parliament each year for its approval how these monies must be used.

The National Economic Fund should be placed within the Treasury with deposits going to the Consolidated Fund and used according to how Parliament has agreed. It is not for the Minister to announce through Regulations how the money is to be used.

Furthermore, the Minister must provide more information on marketing and promotion as suggested. Let me explain why. As it is constituted there are two marketing agencies that are promoting the CIP at their expense wherever it is agreed. In return for each applicant brought in, these agencies get 10% of the donation or the fees. So we need to ask the following –

  • Is the established marketing arrangements revoked?
  • If not, is the CIP paying 10% to marketing agencies then holding 20% for more marketing? This means for every $100,000 received, the people of Saint Lucia will only get $70,000 for a citizenship!!!
  • If so, why would you revoke an arrangement where you pay 10% to now collect 20% to spend on the same marketing? Is there any other agencies which will be receiving payments from the 20%?
  1. Insertion of new Regulation 15

We agree with this as it was an oversight in the original Regulations.

Amendment of Schedule 1

We agree with this as it was an oversight in the original Regulations.

  1. Amendment of Schedule 2

This is scandalous. The CIP was position as a high valued option for persons who want to be part of a select few. Therefore as noted by the Leader of the Opposition there were three fundamental provisions – a high net worth, a limit to 500 annually and a sufficiently high donation level.

This amendment together with the other changes makes Saint Lucia a cheap island paradise. It is shameful that the Government will boast that we are now cheaper than Dominica as our new selling tagline and position Saint Lucia as destination that has less value than the cheapest.

We boast of selling Jade Mountain, Ladera, Viceroy, Sandals and soon the Royalton at Cap Estate, all high end options, of being one of the world’s leading wedding and honeymoon destinations, of having world renowned beauty and attractions but we are reduced to be sold as the cheapest destination for citizenship.

Do you remember that it was the same Prime Minister when as Leader as the UWP in opposition said he was opposing the CIP because it had no transparency and accountability? That the Board must be an independent Board with no one appointed by politicians? That ALL the money of the CIP MUST go to the people of Saint Lucia? Remember?

Yet, the same person now as Prime Minister, as Minister responsible for Citizenship by Investment has appointed a Board in the same manner, with no changes to the Legislation to allow a Board appointed as he said is necessary.

The CIP Act requires that by the end of September 2016, a Report should have been presented to Parliament indicating who received citizenship, how much money was earned and what was it used for. To date the Prime Minister has failed to do so. Yet, the Prime Minister says that the CIP has earned EC$6 million but the Chairman of the CIP says it has earned almost US$4m (EC$10.8m).

Rather than meet the requirements for accountability and transparency, the UWP Government is making changes that bring shame and disgrace to Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia deserves better. The CIP changes are largely insulting and degrading to Saint Lucians.

Whatever happened to Brand Saint Lucia …is it no longer Simply Beautiful but now Simply Cheap?

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10 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    January 5, 2017 at 3:41 pm Reply

    tell us about jufalie and his daughter first before commenting on CIP. THE SAME WAY YOU WANT TO EXPLAIN WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CHANGES TO THE CIP YOU SHOULD BE EXPLAINING WHAT WENT DOWN JUFALIE
    SAD BUT TRUE YOU GRASPING AT STRAWS

    1. Anonymous
      January 5, 2017 at 4:06 pm Reply

      When Chastenet done with us we will all be grasping at straws.

  2. Anonymous
    January 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm Reply

    This is very alarming
    If this is true then all St.Lucians should be concerned about issues of National security when it comes to the CIP

  3. Anonymous
    January 5, 2017 at 4:06 pm Reply

    I blame the SLP
    For introducing this programe in the first place.

    1. Anonymous
      January 5, 2017 at 4:09 pm Reply

      Oh wow. Chastenet makes a mess with a programme and you blame the last govt? They’re not the ones who made these bad decisions to change the regulations.

  4. Sad-But-True
    January 5, 2017 at 7:40 pm Reply

    Let Evil Chastanet continue his Evils in this Land.
    He has proven to me to be a Clown, an over grown child sitting in the Black man’s chair.
    You struggling genes, will have your day!

    1. Calvin
      January 6, 2017 at 1:08 am Reply

      Interesting opinion, as always, Sad-But-True.

      You have a fantastic web presence across multiple publicly viewable web and social media platforms.

      Good luck with that whole seeming white bitterness/assertiveness thing you seem to have going on.

      Also, love your #sad-but-true Twitter account, you have lots of followers, and I am sure in my heart that there is something in a most Christian way for each of us to learn from you and your posts and followers.
      https://twitter.com/hashtag/sad-but-true?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Ehashtag

  5. Calvin
    January 6, 2017 at 12:46 am Reply

    As observed in a previous comment, it is very disappointing, and somewhat of a travesty from a media ethics standpoint, that someone can simply issues something as a “Press Release”/”Statement” and get front of page coverage.

    I and a number of others had believed, perhaps mistakenly, that the St. Lucia Times was above being used a a platform for parroting those with the nerve of self-importance to issue their opinion as a “Press Release” or “Statement”.

    Dr. Hilaire is a member of the High Commission of St. Lucia in London.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Commission_of_Saint_Lucia,_London
    Please understand very, very, clearly, that his position is politically appointed. It is not democratically determined. The position is politically appointed by the elected government to the time, and, depending on location, as is process in most Commonwealth countries, an appointment typically awarded to on a partisan basis to someone that has been loyal to the party in power at the time and who is considered as “having put in their dues.” This is not conjecture. This is infrequently discussed fact, a privilege for the privileged.

    Such that there is no inference nor any mistake made — I am not making any judgement on Mr. Hilaire’s comments one way or another.

    The fact of the matter is that he clearly stepped over his bounds and mandate making them.

    Mr. Hilaire is employed within a very well defined mandate as a representative of SLU overseas. Foreign non-elected representatives do not get paid to, nor have any authority to, meddle publicly in the domestic discourse.

    On top of this, what makes this even more ironic is that, in his current capacity, he lacks the authority as even a stakeholder to comment. With respect to his capacity, what have we seen from him as to his demonstrating his advocacy for maintaining our nation’s multi-million dollar trade arrangements with britain in light of BREXIT, now that with BREXIT, literally, all trade agreements in goods and services with England will be on the agenda for re-negotiation? if I have missed something on his expressing how much work he’s doing on this, something within his direct mandate, I must have proverbially missed the frequent memos as to what he is doing to look after our interests, rather than oping on a subject that is beyond his mandate and harkens back to the tiring old-style lap-dog cronyism that has, in part put our island in the social and economic situation that it is today.

    If he wants to show leadership in his mandate, a number of us would be interested in reading an opinion piece by him entitled, “St. Lucia and BREXIT: Possible Implications of the Perfect Storm of Trade Collapse With Britain and mandated Devaluation of the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.”

    Ask our elected officials:
    http://www.govt.lc/cabinet

    We have the exceptional privilege of living in a democracy. As such, his views do not imply more cred or attention than the views of the rest of the population.

    St. Lucia Times, you are a very good news outlet. I have, and will continue to recommend you without hesitation. You are also better than being pandered to and unfairly manipulated by a politically appointed, non-elected partisan representative who feels, mistakenly, that their voice in our nation’s democracy, our future, counts more than anyone else’s.

    Taking a completely non-partisan approach, Mr. Hilaire was very clearly not undertaking his responsibilities, and, likely, contributed to any exiting viewpoints off-shore as SLU being a tin-pot piece of beach with laghable loud-mouths as their foreign representatives.

    We should all be ashamed at his behaviour, and it deserves just non-partisan sanction.

    Time for Mr. Hilaire to be recalled utilizing our island’s existing statutory mechanisms that exist for overseas, non-elected partisan appointments.

  6. Dacobs
    January 6, 2017 at 1:59 am Reply

    This man have the country as one desperate beggar. Then again that would be reducing the integrity of beggars. Normally they ask for and accepts only significant handouts.

    Stop blaming SLP for this debacle unfolding before our very eyes. Chastanet found a dough half kneaded. He knew that but the big man that he is he will seek nor take advise from the original handlers but races ahead to roll the dough without even letting it prove. It will be a miracle if any of us enjoy and is satisfied by that bread. It is positioned to fall flat.

    1. Calvin
      January 6, 2017 at 10:47 am Reply

      A very compelling metaphor, Dacobs.

      One can only hope that the bread does not fall flat, particularly with the proverbial come-to-Jesus that we eaters of that bread will face shortly when the $EC is devalued so as to maintain reserves in the face of literally years of bad loan exposure. The recent BOSL sale to off-shore interests is only the first of what will be several examples.

      We live in a democracy — we can each ask questions of our elected officials, reachable as follows:
      *
      http://www.govt.lc/cabinet
      *
      http://www.govt.lc/directory

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