Monday 9 December, 2019

Pierre: Is Govt's CIP policy to blame for Canadian visa hurdle?

Leader of the Opposition Philip J. Pierre posted the following to his official Facebook page earlier today:

The consequences of the UWP government actions

On June 6 2016 when the United Workers Party was voted into office by the majority of Saint Lucians they immediately sought to dismantle or discredit the projects and initiatives of the former SLP government. In their exuberance and their desire to demonstrate their new found power and ability to make SLP supporters cry they failed to study carefully the repercussions of their actions.

One of their actions was to reorganize the CIP and remove some of the provisions that were well conceived by the SLP. The PM failed to consider that like the financial services sector Saint Lucia was the last to participate and we could make the necessary adjustments to avoid the mistakes and pitfalls of other islands.

One important provision in the CIP was the restriction of five hundred passports to be issued. This was applauded and supported by the IMF; an institution that UWP surrogates are suddenly eager to quote.

The thinking was that Saint Lucian citizenship would be a unique highly valued status only available to the discerning and reputable prospective investors.

By removing the number restriction and reducing the cost our passport was no longer unique.

Earlier this week it was announced that the Canadian government has declared that visa applicants wishing to travel to Canada must attend in person an interview in Trinidad. This means that travel to Canada has become more complicated and expensive for the majority of Saint Lucians.

The question can be asked is that move the result of the changes in Saint Lucia CIP policy? It is a well-known fact that there were always issues with locals traveling to Canada hence the imposition of the visa requirement but was it aggravated by the possibility of our passports falling in the wrong hands?

The UWP government must come off their arrogant posture and off their high horse DSH, pun not intended, and listen to reason and good sense.

Who knows, PM Chastanet may be working on his election promise of visa free entry for Saint Lucians wanting to visit the United States?

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