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HomeCBI ProgramsSt Lucia’s opposition leader threatens court action over CIP fiasco, calls for...

St Lucia’s opposition leader threatens court action over CIP fiasco, calls for resignations, pending EU, US actions 

– “Once again, we call for Minister Hilaire’s removal from your Cabinet while the investigation is ongoing, the termination of the CEO of the CIP Unit Mc Claude Emmanuel, the replacement of all current Board members of the CIP Unit who are implicated in this, and the suspension of the Infrastructure Option or its amendment via formal regulations,” The LOO, Allen Chastanet.

 By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – In an open letter to Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, dated June 21, 2024, and extensively copied to civil society, the Leader of the Opposition (LOO) Allen Chastanet, cautions: “Prime Minister if you do not take action, we will be left with no other option but to take this matter to the Courts and to solicit the support of civil society and the public to prevent further threats to the integrity of our CIP Programme and our country as a whole.”

The LOO’s open letter followed an advertisement on social media, “Tune in to my address at 8:00 pm this Sunday, where I will share with you the contents of my letter to the Prime Minister regarding the ongoing CIP scandal.”

Caribbean News Global (CNG) obtained the extensively copied letter to civil society that itemizes the LOO’s grievance, in part:

“As the opposition leader I have shared with you and the general public my concerns with the GPH agreement, the Halls of Justice project, the guarantee of 80 million dollars for the National Lotteries Authority loan, the decision to spend an additional $265 million on the old St Jude’s hospital and the staggering amount of debt with which you are saddling our country. I am also at a loss as to your apparent inability to see the urgent need to implement policies to combat the impact of inflation and our crime problem which continues unabated.”

Added to these woes is the chaos currently taking place at the CIP Unit – the resignation of the chairman, the serious questions surrounding the capability and integrity of the CEO, the conflicting facts between the minister and the CEO, the allegations of collusion and corruption, the naming of both the minister and CEO in a RICO case and the breach of the CIP Act where no audited reports have been made public or tabled in the House of Parliament for the last two years.

In the letter, the LOO opines that the prime minister’s “urgent and immediate action is required,” and called for immediate action.

“ The resignation of the minister responsible for CIP and the CEO of the CIP Unit, […] In addition, the so-called ‘Infrastructure Option’ should be postponed immediately and the appropriate Regulations passed to ensure it is properly governed.”

The LOO has also mandated Prime Minister Pierre, stating, “You should direct reprimands, investigations and terminations towards those who are responsible for this most egregious scandal.”

The open letter also seeks to advise Prime Minister Pierre that “hiding behind the refrain that you will not make further comment on this scandal until the RICO [lawsuit] is concluded, the public is owed an immediate explanation.”

According to the LOO’s claims, “This problem will not go away by ignoring it and protecting the wrongdoers based on blind party loyalty. This situation has presented you with a dilemma in choosing between Party and Country. This is a test of your leadership.”

The content of the letter makes claims of a lack of transparency in CIP, the Infrastructure Option, the collection of funds and all fees, the allocation of files, approved applicants’ deposits, safeguards to provide accountability and prevent abuse. The arrest in the United States, England and Singapore of five Chinese nationals who [have] obtained citizenship from St Kitts and Dominica.

 “…To make matters worse, if as was confirmed by the minister in his address, our Citizenship is being sold at a price below the legally authorized price this would be considered fraud and when these funds are then transmitted through the international banking system, this will constitute money laundering.”

The LOO’s letter questions: “Why would you as the Minister of Finance allow public funds to go directly to a private entity in contravention of both our Finance and CIP Act?”

On the matter of MSR MEDIA, says the LOO: “The fact is I never heard of this company nor its principal Philippe Martinez until April of this year when he also attempted to contact you about evidence he has in his possession re a pending court matter.” … “It is disturbing that you were so quick to reject the opportunity to obtain evidence and to take corrective actions if necessary. Instead, you, blinded by your enmity toward me and the UWP, inexplicably but predictably, resorted to demeaning Martinez and concocting a conspiracy.”

Saint Lucia’s reputation is in jeopardy, the LOO says:

Prime Minister if this fiasco is not handled seriously and urgently it will have grave legal implications that can jeopardize our visa-free arrangements, our correspondent banking agreements, our country’s reputation and raises worrying concerns about the management of state funds. The Chamber of Commerce, private sector and the Bankers Association, among others, i expect are anxiously awaiting your decisive action, as are our foreign state partners, who have entrusted us to respect the privilege of the visa free access, which if abused can lead to dire consequences for their national security.”

“The European governments are in the process of empowering their Commission to terminate the Schengen visa-free access to any country that has a CIP Programme. They have also sternly warned the OECS and have demanded that they harmonize and strengthen their programmes by June 2024. Saint Lucia, after much duress, has now indicated that it will sign the MOA.

“Your government’s procrastination suggests that you are not taking heed of these clear signals of danger and your recklessness is likely to cost us dearly. These secret projects, the lies and relentless propaganda all designed to protect the victory and to allow Party favourites to plunder State resources is a recipe for disaster,” says the LOO’s open letter.

“The facts, threats and many irregularities currently taking place with Saint Lucia’s CIP – US$1.4 billion/ XCD 3.7 billion of unaccounted CIP funds is cause for major concern,” the LOO radiates.

letter_to_prime_minister_210620241-1.pdf

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