The St. Lucia government says it supports a joint approach by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that is being offered by some countries of the nine-member grouping.
“St. Lucia was already in the citizenship business – not directly, because the fact is that a person could buy a passport from Dominica or Antigua or St Kitts or Grenada and have full rights in St. Lucia,” Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said.
He said his preference was for the CIP to be an OECS initiative based at the OECS Secretariat.
“I can say to all the other Prime Ministers that St Lucia is willing to sign up to that,” Chastanet said, adding that the value of the programme does not necessarily relate to the country offering the citizenship, but the access that the citizenship gives in terms of how many visa-free countries can be visited and the ease of doing business.
He said there is a growing market of Americans who are interested in having a second passport because of terrorism.
“So when they are traveling abroad and they are in a hotel, they would rather have another passport because they feel they are not going to be a target,” Chastanet told a news conference earlier this week.
He said that there are a number of legitimate reasons why people want a ‘secondary’ passport.
OECS countries, notably, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis and St Lucia offer the CIP, under which foreign investors make a significant financial contribution to the socio-economic development of those islands in exchange for citizenship.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has publicly stated that it would not participate in any CIP programme.