I have never written to you before, nor ever sought an audience, as I have always thought that whatever decision you take which might negatively impact us could always be corrected at the ballot box. So, for example, I did not join the recent march clamoring for relief from high fuel prices, as I thought there was a greater fundamental to be considered. For this debate to have raged for so long is testimony to a lack of transparency, and while you have been finally forced to do the right thing, that debate will also be reflected in the ballot box. Why have you not simply published the full calculations over the last six months so that all of us might understand what has been done?
Now though, with the advent of your committee’s report on the establishment of a “Global Residence and Citizenship Program,” I feel that I must beseech you. For while I have tried to be generous in the past and have interpreted the impact of your stewardship as simply an attack on our bellies, this time I fear that your war is directed at a much more sensitive and primal part of our collective anatomy. This time you have targeted our soul.How could you? How could you even consider the concept of selling our citizenship? You, the leader of a party that up until recently was repeatedly crucifying Sir John Compton for allegedly having sold our patrimony. This, when it became apparent that the Commonwealth Development Corporation owned Pigeon Island, even though only as a result of the development of the entire Rodney Bay and Causeway areas. Pigeon Island is, however, now vested in the National Trust, and no lasting harm has been done.
But as if to commission a report were not enough, you now propose to encourage public discussion of it. Much as it may seem clothed in the academic credentials of its chairman, the recommendation of this report is deeply disgusting, and suggests immeasurable desperation. Have we no pride left?
As for the report implying that others have done it, therefore we should follow suit, what can be said about that other than this argument can be used to justify anything? It is the type of argument that is most often used when an intended course of action cannot be justified.
This impending disgrace is not just about citizenship, however, because as a people, we have always been welcoming of others. In fact, some would argue that we overreach in this welcome. No, this is more about what is being proposed for exchange—an identity, for money.
What is the price of my nationality to be, Prime Minister? How high? How low?
Sadly, whatever the price, this concept of “citizenship by investment programs” will turn all of us into something we would never have chosen for ourselves. Make no mistake, once you name your price, you also define your character. And I mean no disrespect to those who freely choose to participate in the world’s oldest profession.
Know also Prime Minister that once you enter this profession, there is no turning back. You can never again be who you once were. Please, do not even consider the possibility of condemning us to forever walking with our heads bowed in shame.
So here we find ourselves, Prime Minister, as we prepare to celebrate this our thirty-sixth year of Independence, at a juncture which calls for good leadership. Reject this report. Do not encourage public discussion of it. We can only further demean ourselves by participating in such a discussion. Instead, dump that report.
If, however, you find that you must embrace this report Prime Minister, then do the right thing, now. Do not first bring public opprobrium on yourself before doing what is right. Make the suggestion contained in this report, this concept of “citizenship by investment,” the subject of a national referendum. Barring that, let it be the center-piece of your manifesto for a national election. But if in the final analysis Prime Minister, you truly have run out of ideas for our economic development, then, again, do the right thing. Now!
Editor’s Note: The Global Residence and Citizenship Program Report this week became a public document. The report looks at the feasibility of establishing a Global Residence and Citizenship Program and was undertaken by a Committee established in August 2014. The Committee comprised Dr. Vaughan A. Lewis (Chairman), Mr. McHale Andrew, Mr. George Deterville, Ms. Brenda Duncan, Mr. Timothy Ferdinand, Mr. George Goddard and Mr. Nicholas John. Mr. Nicholas John represented the Opposition on the Committee. The report is available on the Government of Saint Lucia’s website, www.govt.lc or this link: