Chairman of the Citizenship by Investment Unit Dr. Ernest Hilaire has described as “scaremongering” claims that the economic citizenship programme will attract terrorists.
Hilaire made the comments on Tuesday as he delivered the feature address at the 131st Annual General Meeting of The St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, held at Bay Gardens Hotel.
“To know that the claim that we will attract terrorists to our program is a bit of scaremongering,” he said.
“A simple observation from available evidence of the most recent case of terrorism shows that the leader was carrying a European passport. Should we therefore ban all persons carrying a European passport from coming to St. Lucia? Most European countries including UK, France, Spain, Germany, have reported that hundreds of their citizens carrying their passports are in Syria and Iraq supporting ISIS. Should we ban all persons from Europe and the UK from coming to St. Lucia?”
Dr. Hilaire, the former high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said there is “no doubt that there are significant benefits from having such a programme”.
.”You can easily identify the increasing government revenue, allowing for funding for central government expenditure especially for capital projects. The creation of jobs, especially in the construction and hospitality sectors. Earnings for professionals who offer advice and process applications.
“Increased tourism arrivals, stronger brand identity and destination profiling, and in some cases, greater support for local charities. St. Lucia’s programme will be no different, it offers citizenship once an individual satisfies a due diligence review and met a qualified investment threshold. In understanding the programme there are two aspects to be considered: the philosophical guiding principles and the operations,” he explained.
Saint Lucia’s first Citizenship by Investment Programme was announced in October at Arton Capital’s 3rd Annual Global Citizenship Forum by Prime Minister & Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning & Social Security, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony.
The announcement will see foreigners for the first time gain citizenship and a Saint Lucian national passport through investment in the country’s economy. The legislation was supported by all elected members of parliament, and the country will commence accepting applications for citizenship by investment on January 1, 2016.
Applicants will require a net worth of US$ 3,000,000 to qualify and St. Lucia has set an initial limit of 500 applications per annum. A citizen of Saint Lucia will hold a passport that allows visa-free travel to 105 countries and has a Passport Power Rank of 45, according to Arton Capital’s Passport Power Index.