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HomeNewsCaribbean NewsMontserrat Diaspora Survey ignites drive for change: St Lucia to introduce legislation

Montserrat Diaspora Survey ignites drive for change: St Lucia to introduce legislation

  • Montserrat Diaspora and Investment Engagement, scheduled March 4 to March 8, 2024, in Montserrat.
  • St Lucia: Macro Investment Legislation

By Caribbean News Global contributor

MONTSERRAT / ST LUCIA – The government of Montserrat’s recently concluded ‘Diaspora Feedback Survey’ has unveiled essential insights into the diaspora’s demographics, connections, and perspectives regarding Montserrat; meantime, in Saint Lucia, Prime Minister Philip J Pierre’s budget address 2022/2023 “ Empowering Our People – Transforming Our Economy”, said in part, about the diaspora:

This government appreciates their contribution. Remittances sent home have made a significant impact on our economy. I am mindful that we have a Citizenship by Investment Programme. It is time that we have a Diaspora Investment Programme (DIP).”

[…]

January 7, 2024, the PM’s New Year’s address, declared: “We will introduce legislation to encourage our residents in the diaspora to return to open business ventures in our country.”

[…]

Let’s get some answers …

Montserrat Diaspora Feedback Survey

Conducted between November 27 to December 11, 2023, the survey strategically gathered 153 responses from online platforms, diaspora organizations, and community networks, says the government of Montserrat.

“The survey highlighted critical concerns flagged by the Montserrat diaspora, encompassing economic development, healthcare, island accessibility, environmental sustainability, job opportunities, education, and infrastructure development. Additionally, it sheds light on governance challenges hindering investments, stressing an urgent need for transparent governance practices.”

Premier, Joseph E. Farrell, emphasized the significance of obtaining this data which will be factored into the government’s strategic plans.

“The invaluable insights gleaned from this survey provided a deep understanding of our diaspora’s dynamics and concerns. This underscores the necessity of actively engaging and addressing their needs, which are crucial for a robust, collaborative development strategy,” stated premier Farrell.

Director of the Montserrat Tourism Division, Rosetta West-Gerald, acknowledged the diaspora’s commitment to cultural preservation and specifically highlighted the insights gathered about access and tourism in Montserrat.

“The feedback we received echoes the vital importance of enhancing these areas. Understanding the diaspora’s perspectives on accessibility and our tourism infrastructure aligns with our goal to create a more accessible and inviting Montserrat for all,” said director West-Gerald.

Regarding future diaspora events, the survey unveiled diverse preferences among respondents, showing inclinations toward both physical and virtual attendance.

“This feedback will inform the organisation of the Montserrat Diaspora and Investment Engagement, slated to take place from March 4 to March 8, 2024, in Montserrat,” the government of Monsterrat announced in a press release.

The Montserrat Tourism Division has analysed the survey data and compiled a comprehensive report. The Montserrat Diaspora Survey Report is available here.

Montserrat Diaspora Survey Report Recommendations

The survey report also provides comprehensive recommendations, including enhancing communication channels, fostering engagement initiatives, ensuring information accessibility, supporting investments, collaborating with diaspora organisations, promoting cultural exchanges, and advocating for transparent governance.

According to the government press release:

These findings serve as a catalyst for the government of Montserrat to engage collaboratively with the diaspora, leveraging their insights for a more inclusive and progressive Montserrat.”

A review of Prime Minister Pierre’s address Empowering Our People – Transforming Our Economy, notes the following:

“… I want to begin my address by telling this parliament and the people of Saint Lucia, who we are, and what we stand for, as a government. This is very important, …, so that the citizens of Saint Lucia, at home and in the diaspora understand what motivates and drives this government.

“As part of the government’s digital transformation agenda… Lucians in the diaspora to promote and enhance our tourism product and to allow investment in government financial instruments.”

“Our diaspora represents our surest market presence in the global village. They are our best ambassadors, providing word-of-mouth testimonials.

“In 2022, we intend to leverage far more the presence of the diaspora. We will also consider measures to extend our Saint Lucian family to include the children of second-generation Saint Lucians in the diaspora. This coupled with some new opportunities through our Diaspora Investment Programme will ensure that our diaspora is motivated to explore gainful investment opportunities at home.

“This government believes that our citizens here and in the diaspora must be fully engaged in the development process and the creation of opportunity and wealth.”

Despite all of this, the Saint Lucian diaspora remains in abeyance. Is it difficult to detox the status quo?

Macro Investment Legislation

“During 2024 government intends to pass new legislation, that encourages large local and foreign businesses to invest across all sectors of the economy. That legislation will include enhanced incentives and improvement in the granting of approvals and other processes.

“We will introduce legislation to encourage our residents in the diaspora to return to open business ventures in our country.”

Could this be interpreted as consensually changing the status quo?

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