CIP changes will make Saint Lucia more competitive, says PM

CIP changes will make Saint Lucia more competitive, says PM

6th January 2017

Recent changes to regulations of Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) will make it more
competitive, says Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

The prime minister was
responding to questions posed to him by members of the local media on Thursday
evening during a live press conference, explaining the reasons for these

Chastanet, who is the minister
responsible for the CIP, said that Saint Lucia was selling citizenship for US$200,000,
when Dominica already offers the programme at US$100,000.

“I heard this idea that we are
selling ourselves cheap, but the fact is, when people are buying a citizenship
programme, they are buying it because it has a value. And unfortunately, we don’t
necessarily like to hear that, but the value is not necessarily the country,
the value is what access the citizenship gives you,” he explained.

Another interesting fact he
pointed out is that Saint Lucia was indirectly in the “citizenship business,” mainly
due to the fact that if a person purchased a passport from Dominica, Antigua,
St Kitts or Grenada, they had full rights in Saint Lucia.

This is one of the reasons why
Chastanet said he will support the idea for the CIP to be an OECS programme, as
he believes the programme could be better managed at the regional level.

While shifting back the prime
minister’s attention to the reduction in the price for a passport through CIP,
reporters asked him if it was justifiable. Castanet responded in the affirmative,
again defending the reasons for the change.

He explained that other
countries are offering discounts or incentives off each US$200,000 for every
citizenship except Dominica, which is by far the biggest seller in the
Caribbean with an almost 1,500 annual limit of passport sales.

“What’s interesting is when
Saint Kitts was the only country, they had 22-2500 at peak. Now, 5 countries
are offering the same programme, and in fact the demand hasn’t grown…We are now
sharing that number in the Caribbean. So you tell me, how is it we can offer
the same programme, selling the same passport, in terms of where I can get
access, for twice the price?”

The prime minister also pointed
to the growing interest in the United States where persons are looking to own an
additional passport mainly because of threat of terrorism in that country. He
explained, that is one of the legitimate reasons why people want to have a
second passport.

Chastanet who took the reigns of
leadership in June of 2016 after an election victory, said his government plans
to make good use of the monies that are obtained through the CIP.

He said his administration will
set up a sovereign fund and an announcement will be made soon, as to how it
will be regulated and who will manage it.

“It will not be government, but
completely independent. It will be assets of the state. And it could be used to
lend money to projects in Saint Lucia, buy bonds and interact with other
countries. We will try to sell as many CIP as we can in the shortest period of
time, in order to get that money to be able to feed the sovereign fund.”

Further, the government will
also be introducing a new component of the CIP programme called the “residency

This programme has two options:
permanent and temporary residency. The temporary residency aspect will be used
to attract high-end foreign nationals who are willing to invest in real estate.

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