The former leader of the Lucian Peoples Movement (LPM) has asserted that Friday’s landslide election win by the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP), is a demonstration of the power of Citizenship By Investment Programme (CIP) money.
Therold Prudent has also criticised Castries South MP, Doctor Ernest Hilaire, for ‘meddling’ in the Dominica election process.
Saint Lucia’s ruling United Workers Party (UWP) this week urged that authorities in Saint Lucia and Dominica question Hilaire for indicating Wednesday on a DLP platform, that election unrest in Dominica was planned in Saint Lucia.
Therold Prudent told St Lucia Times that when CIP money is used in a way that seems to benefit the people they vote accordingly, understanding that they have not seen the level of housing development in Dominica for while.
The ruling party of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit won 18 of the legislative seats, compared to a mere three of the opposition United Workers Party of Lennox Linton.
Prudent said the poll paints a dark picture not only for Dominica, but the rest of the Caribbean.
He asserted that even in the face of allegations of blatant corruption, voters are willing to turn a blind eye.
“It also shows that in the era of CIP, if you have the money of the CIP you can use it to your advantage to win elections,” the former LPM leader told St Lucia Times.
“We have seen that happen in areas like Cyprus where the Russians have come in – they’ve been able to infiltrate this entire Island,” he stated.
“If we are not careful with the CIP- with the direction in which we are going and we believe this is the only way out in terms of our own development; then I am saying we’re in serious trouble here in the Caribbean,” Prudent explained.
He recalled that he had always been opposed to the idea of the CIP.
“I always said when I was leader of the LPM that a CIP without a land policy cannot protect the people of Saint Lucia; cannot protect the people of Dominica from any corrupt government that decides to use those CIP monies in ways that it was not intended to be used,” Prudent noted.
He expressed the view that the CIP cheapens the sovereignty of Saint Lucia as well as Dominica, because passports can be bought by anyone who is able to afford them.
Prudent proposed an arrangement whereby interested parties can be given permanent residence and within five years, they and the value of their investment can be evaluated before granting them citizenship.
Despite his assertions, Prudent expressed congratulations to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on his election win.
“They have won even though there are questions about CIP money,” he explained.
Prudent also had words for the Dominica opposition, declaring that violence is a turn-off for most voters.
“I hope Lennox Linton takes this as a lesson to revisit their mis-steps in this last elections,” the former LPM leader told St Lucia Times.
On the question of Doctor Ernest Hilaire’s statement in Dominica, Prudent expressed the view that it was unfortunate.
“I believe it was a statement that should never have been made because he himself has no proof to have established this particular statement. Sometimes it is better – I have always said, that we do not continue to interfere in the politics of other countries and Islands.”
Prudent observed that when Allen Chastanet did that about five years ago he was lambasted.
“But today we come back and do the very same thing that we accused Allen Chastanet of doing – meddling in the politics of others,” he stated.
“It would have been better of Ernest Hilaire had stayed home and concentrated on improving his people’s skills as far as I am concerned,” Prudent told St Lucia Times.