St. Lucia Opposition Accuses Govt of Selling “Secret” Infrastructure Option for $80,000

Allen Chastanet, leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) and former Prime Minister of St. Lucia, has criticized the current administration’s handling of the country’s Citizenship by Investment program (CIP) in a press statement. 

Chastanet alleges that the European Union has “summoned” Prime Minister Pierre to Brussels by the due to “serious concerns about the operation of this program.”

Chastanet states, “We, as a party, have been sounding the alarm for almost two years since Government and the Prime Minister in particular, changed the rules governing the Economic Fund to allow Cabinet to use the CIP monies freely and due to their damning decision to continue accepting Russian and Iranian applications at the commencement of the Ukraine war in spite of international concerns.”

The opposition leader also criticized what – he believes – is the government’s refusal to commit to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) joint protocols. Chastanet argues that by not signing the MoA, the government has “undermined confidence in our program.” 

Chastanet warns, “This raises serious security and transparency concerns and threatens to impact our current visa-free access to the United Kingdom and Europe.”

Chastanet also emphasized his belief in the importance of the OECS Countries’ agreement on a common standard for CIP programs, including a minimum price of US$200,000, which he claims St. Lucia is now disregarding. 

However, the head of St. Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Mc Claude Emmanuel, stated, “Saint Lucia is not against signing the MoA.” He revealed that St. Lucia had “asked for additional time to address some housekeeping matters and discuss legal obligations” before signing the agreement to maintain regional cooperation and industry viability.

Revenue Shortfall and Real Estate Shift

The opposition leader also raised concerns about the low demand for the Donation Option within the CIP program, which “only achieved 50% of its projected revenue as it was negatively affected by the Real Estate option.” 

Chastanet claimed, “It has been reported that the Real Estate option is being sold unlawfully at a discounted price, which the Government has to date not denied or confirmed.”

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While the opposition raises concerns, the government acknowledges challenges with the CIP’s revenue performance. In a Parliamentary address, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre revealed that the CIP contributed US$45 million in the 2023/2024 fiscal year, half of the estimated US$90 million. 

Pierre attributed the lower revenue to the rising popularity of the real estate route, which has become more attractive to investors since St. Lucia lowered the real estate threshold to US$200,000 from US$300,000.

Chastanet also claimed that the government launched a new, secret infrastructure option, which he says the government has “not informed the people of St.Lucia about.” 

Chastanet stated that this new option “will allow certain approved developers to undertake infrastructure projects for the Government and to reimburse themselves by selling our citizenships for US$100,000 and receiving the funds directly.”

He then claimed that there was evidence that “a particular developer has begun selling this option and, even more concerning, is the sub-par selling price of US$80,000.” Chastanet did not reveal the details of the evidence to the public. 

Chastanet did not name the developer, but IMI understands the developer Chastanet refers to is Caribbean Galaxy.

“The consequent risks to the reputation of our program and to local and regional security are obvious to everyone but the Prime Minister and his Cabinet,” he warned.

Chastanet also underlined the risk of the United States and Canada reversing their “recently granted concessions to allow us to apply and renew our visas online.” He stated, “Many St. Lucians have to struggle to get visas to travel for health, education, shopping, and visiting friends and family. The online process for the US and Canada has made things much easier, but this could now be at risk.”

The UWP leader concluded by warning of the potential “devastating consequences” St. Lucians could face, including increased burdens and costs for visa applications. 

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