Prime Minister of St Lucia, Phillip Pierre

The St Lucia government yesterday said it has made suggestions to governments in the sub-regional Organisation with Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) with Citizenship by Investment programmes (CBI) to further strengthen a regional agreement they have signed recently.

Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre in a statement said that Castries has proposed legislative changes to address change of name requests and that this has been agreed to by the leaders of the other countries.

Apart from St Lucia, the other OECS countries with a CBI programme are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St Kitts-Nevis.

Under the CBI programme, foreign investors are granted citizenship of the country in return for making a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of those countries.

Pierre said that after careful review and extensive discussions with stakeholders and other OECS leaders with CBI programmes, St Lucia agreed to sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) already signed by other OECS CBI countries. He said the MOU calls for pricing, information sharing and transparency standards, regulation, security screening and framework as well as the regulation, dispute resolution, amendment and termination.

Pierre said that the agreement reached in further strengthening the CBI programmes calls for an annual quota, a net-worth for applicants and escrow accounts to be held in St Lucia or in the individual islands.

He said a requirement that only licensed promoters will be allowed to submit applicants to local authorised agents and these promoters will have to submit a due diligence report on each applicant.

Pierre said over the last year, the Citizenship by Investment Unit here has instituted all six principles agreed to with the United States government, including a ban on applicants from Russians and Belarusians and an operational review of the programme by an international consultancy firm which will commence shortly. (CMC)