Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, the youngest in the Caribbean, is in its fourth financial year of operation. At last Tuesday’s House of Assembly sitting, the annual report for the financial year 2018-19 was laid. Ryan Devaux, chairman of the Citizenship by Investment Board, declared that the programme continues to make its mark as a “well-run and internationally respected global citizenship programme.” He noted that during the 2018-19 period, EC$61,914,622.40 was paid to the government.
Devaux said his team will continue to work assiduously in ensuring that the best interests remain at the forefront of their agenda. “By attracting reputable global citizens,” he said, “the board looks forward to CIP Saint Lucia contributing in a tangible way to the lives of all Saint Lucians through the national development agenda.”
During the 2018-19 financial year, 210 applications for citizenship were granted, resulting in 288 new citizens. Similarly, as in the 2017-18 financial year, China again came in first, with 60 Chinese having gained citizenship. 27 Russians and 22 Syrians followed. There were 16 each from Turkey and Iran, 12 from Lebanon and 11 from Yemen. Nine each from Korea, South Africa, USA, Iraq, and eight from Palestine followed. Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan each had seven, while there were six each from Pakistan and Mexico, and five from Indonesia. There were four each from Taiwan, France and India, and three each from Nigeria, Egypt and Mauritania. Libya, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Bangladesh, Philippines and the United Kingdom each had two. Lastly, there was one each from Spain, Algeria, Jamaica, Italy, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Rwanda, Sudan, Greece, Israel, Laos, Nepal, Thailand and Tunisia.
This year there was also a major change in the report. In previous years, the list of names of successful applicants featured in each report. For 2018-19, however, this was not the case. Instead, an appendix with the successful applicants’ names was printed separately and inserted into the report.
At last Tuesday’s house sitting, MP for Castries South, Ernest Hilaire, addressed the change. He cited CIP legislation that required the annual report to contain the names, addresses and nationalities of all successful applicants. “Saint Lucians have a right to know who are the people that have become citizens,” he said. “That’s what the law says. So this report which was circulated to this House, should not be made a public document unless that list is included in the annual report because that’s what the law requires.”
CEO of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, Nestor Alfred, told the STAR on Wednesday that there was no ill intent on their part. He said that although the names weren’t within the pages, they did form part and parcel of the report with the included appendix.
“It was just a matter of style and presentation of the annual report,” said Alfred. “The intention of the Unit was very clear. It was not one of saying that we’re not going to be transparent with the names, because the names were submitted. It was just a matter of presentation and there was no malice or wrongful deed behind that decision.”
Taking into account figures from the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 annual reports, 625 people have been granted Saint Lucian citizenship through CIP. The reports are available to the public at the Parliament Library in Castries.