Asserting that there is need to review the granting of citizenship to foreign investors under the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), the leader of the Lucian Peoples Movement (LPM), has advocated a phased approach to the the issue.
Therold Prudent expressed the view that before anyone is granted a Saint Lucian passport, that person should know something about the country’s history and culture.
“Just because you have money does not necessarily mean that you should be afforded a passport,” Prudent declared.
He told St Lucia Times that for his part, he would first offer permanent residence so that a potential investor has a five year period to come and go and invest in this country.
“The only thing that you can’t do is to be able to vote and have the rights that citizens of this country have,” the LPM leader explained.
“After five years, we would then come forward and review your investment or contribution to our country and on that basis, we would then offer you an opportunity to apply for citizenship,” he stated.
Prudent told St Lucia Times that with such a phased approach, it would be easier to control politicians and people working in government departments who are prone to corruption.
“I have also said that it is important for us to have what is called a land policy – meaning that you protect Saint Lucians, meaning that Saint Lucians come first and when we are talking about land, such as in the DSH programme – that could never have happened if we had insulated the people of Saint Lucia from a future government that would just come in and give our lands out to anybody because they pose under the guise of investors,” Prudent told St Lucia Times.
The Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a French think tank, released a blacklist last week that includes nearly two dozen countries because of “golden passport” schemes used to evade taxes.
Saint Lucia was one of the countries on the list.
Prudent said the news did not come as a surprise to him.
“From the get-go I had my fears about the CIP,” he recalled, adding that he was one of the people who advised ‘great caution’ in connection with the initiative.