Business

St Lucia mulls economic citizenship programme

Thursday, May 08, 2014    

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — A task force will be appointed to explore the feasibility of introducing an economic citizenship programme to investors.

Delivering the traditional throne speech to the opening of the fourth session of the tenth parliament on Tuesday, Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy said the time has arrived for St Lucia to examine the case for defining and broadening the framework under which citizenship might be offered, as part of investing here.

Dame Pearlette announced that the government will appoint a special task force comprising persons from various sectors to examine the programmes of other countries and make recommendations for the consideration of cabinet.

"It is my government's hope that this matter will be addressed with urgency during the current parliamentary year," the governor general told the parliament.

She said it is right for St Lucians to guard the grant of citizenship to others jealously.

"My government understands the feeling among many that the offering of citizenship is a sacred right only to be bestowed upon persons born in St Lucia, even though our constitution provides citizenship to persons by descent or by marriage," Dame Pearlette noted.

She also said St Lucia's laws allow citizenship to persons who have proved themselves worthy citizens by their commitment to the country, evidenced by their length of stay.

"The reality is that we do grant citizenship to persons who invest in our country and demonstrate a commitment to it," the governor general told the house.

She disclosed that during this year the government will undertake a review of investment schemes offered by countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Saint Kitts, Austria and Portugal.

"Our intention is to broaden the scope of incentives offered to investors to make St Lucia more attractive as an investment location," the governor general said.

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