Leader of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) Allen Chastanet says there is need for transparency and due diligence to ensure that St Lucia’s Citizen by Investment Programme (CIP) does not become linked to terrorism, money laundering or other criminal activities.
On Wednesday, Chastanet sounded the warning in a letter to civil society organizations here inviting them to demand that the government make several changes to the CIP.
The opposition is calling for the creation of an independent and autonomous Board representative of civil society to oversee the programme.
“Board members’ independence and the Board’s autonomy must be supported by legislation.”
According to Chastanet, there must be separate accounting for all revenue and expenditure generated by the CIP and the financials must be presented to Parliament on an annual basis.
“All funds received under the programme must be earmarked for use in debt reduction and or capital expenditure and not recurrent expenditure and more importantly use of all funds must be clearly stipulated,” he asserted.
Chastanet observed that the St Lucia government has been under intense scrutiny over the past several weeks, concerning the “seemingly unmeritorious” grant of diplomatic status to Saudi national, Dr Walid Juffali.
The UWP leader also referred to Juffali’s “spurious” appointment as this country’s representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Chastanet’s letter also described Ernest Hilaire, the Chairman of the board of the CIP, as the “architect” of Juffali’s appointment.
“The programme cannot be run by Party hacks much less to have a Chairman of the Board whose judgment and integrity we must now seriously question and who is widely known to be considering a run for political office. In our view, the programme will continue to be tarnished as long as Dr. Hilaire is associated with it and continues to promote it as Chairman of the Board, “ he stated.