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Commentary: St Lucia's strategic realignment
Published on April 17, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Melanius Alphonse

For Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s impressive amount of ineptitude, immense lack of credibility and thin covering of respectability, one would have thought, after ten months in office, he would perhaps smarten-up a bit on the institution of democracy.

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Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant, a long-standing senior correspondent and a contributing columnist to Caribbean News Now. His areas of focus include political, economic and global security developments, and on the latest news and opinion. His philanthropic interests include advocating for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He contributes to special programming on Radio Free Iyanola, RFI 102.1FM and NewsNow Global analysis. He can be reached at melanius@newsnowglobal.com
Avid readers will remember my article, Enablers of 'steering', 'kleptocracy' and 'ignorance' in St Lucia is reliant on patronage and clientelism, the removal of formal procedures of state, and/ or bypassed rules of conduct in favour of a personal style of rule.

Fast forward, the true vividness of Prime Minister Chastanet is illustrated by his unproductive verbal attacks on civilians, state institutions and democracy, with a personal style of rule.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau on October 9, 1971, said: “A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate. A society which eulogizes the average citizen is one which breads mediocrity.”

Nevertheless, aided by alternative facts with no transcendent value to project purpose and dynamism, Prime Minister Chastanet’s personal style, a transactional, trans-colonial leader is no stranger to handicapping the critical mix of competence, moral commitment and character that good leadership requires.

What’s more, the current dimension of our parliamentary democracy is repeatedly confronted with an elevated level of the absence of knowledge and fertile intellectual antimatter, magnified by the combined efforts of the prime minister and the speaker of the House of Assembly.

However, sensing the gravity at the sitting of the House of Assembly on Tuesday, April 4, the opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) walked out after a motion to reverse changes to the citizenship by investment programme (CIP) was removed from the order paper.

But it is the personal style of rule and in an attempt to undermine and circumvent democracy that leaves few misapprehensions in the prime minister’s utterances:

“The wording of the motion in my mind was uncomfortable, it didn’t feel good going into the debate. Now those are things they want to bring up in the debate, they are free to bring it up in the debate but they can’t be written in a motion. The motion says whereas which suggests it is the fact.

“There is no fact that suggests because we lower the price that the programme has jeopardised the reputation or undermined the security of this country.

“In fact, if anything, they have been strengthened by new relationships we have gained through the regional security forces. So I want to assure everybody that’s the case. So I don’t understand the arguments they are making.

“The Labour Party has made threats like that many other times – this is an attempt at what I call ‘economic terrorism’ or even if you would want to go as far as to say, I would say to you ‘treason’ on their part.”


In turn, the SLP pledged to review every citizenship granted by the current government under the CIP, meanwhile calling for a review to the management of the CIP, claiming, the actions of the government are severely undermining the image and reputation of Saint Lucia and posing a security risk.

A clarification from the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU) attempted to outline the conditions under which CIP decisions may be revoked, relying on the provisions of section 38 (1) of the Citizenship by Investment Act No.14 of 2015, but did not address the possibility of the law itself being changed, by this government or a new government.

Moreover, the combined efforts of CBIU and the senior communications officer in the office of the prime minister make for interesting reading in a Caribbean News Now article, St Lucia citizenship unit counters opposition pledge to review economic citizenships.

Former government minister, Richard Frederick, has also called on Prime Minister Chastanet to adhere to the economic citizenship law: Annual Report 24(1)… the minister shall not later than three months after the submission lay the same in Parliament.(2) Information contained in the report referred to in subsection (1) shall include – …the names, addresses and nationalities of successful applicants and any qualifying dependants included in the applications.

In fact, every one concerned about our democracy should focus on the Chastanet administration’s strategic repositioning, operational stereotype and projected purpose, not the least of which it is said that the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) are still engaged in human rights abuses.

Alongside this, take into consideration political expediency, the disappearance of a free society and critical media (that parrot the news issued by government), history reveals the path is open for expansion of political corruption and kleptocracy.

“Government is a business", "Patrimony is the credit rating" and "the world is a selfish place”:

In the current trends, it is believed, the prime minister’s presumptuous assertion of ‘economic terrorism’ and ‘treason’ shares a sense of kinship to an underlying ideology that apparently portrays Saint Lucia as just another profit over people operation (profit and loss statement, cost reports and balance sheet).

Shaping this thinking, the accompanying strategy and policy is part of the doctrine of rebranding and reallocating:

• Andre Chastanet – Chairman, East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Limited (ECFH)

• Andre Chastanet – Chairman of Bank of Saint Lucia

• Geoffrey DuBoulay – Board of Invest St Lucia

• Nicole DuBoulay – Human Resource Manager, Invest St Lucia

• Peter Devaux – Board of Invest St Lucia

• Ryan Devaux – Chairman of Citizenship by Investment (CIP)

“Proven Investments Limited (PIL) indicated today, March 13, that it has completed purchase of the Bank of St Lucia International Limited (BOSLIL) from East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Limited (ECFH).

“Simultaneous with the completion of the acquisition, PIL said it entered into a share sale agreement with Ryan Devaux, who has been head of BOSLIL since September 2005. Under that agreement, Devaux acquires 17.18 per cent of the shares of BOSLIL and PIL holds the remaining 82.82 per cent.”

• Richard Devaux – Chairman of Saint Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA)

• Nicholas Barnard – Chairman of Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB)

• Nicholas Barnard – Investment Committee of National Insurance Corporation (NIC)

Stop for a minute and take a reality check on experiences that have traumatized the country, the mind, and domestic opposition when it comes to reviewing, reversing and/or stamping government policy, (CIP, DSH, Dolphin Park, national projects, and national budgets). There are lots of questions that play out as to what’s at stake in the equality of opportunity.

“Nepotism,” Eric Trump recently told Forbes, “is kind of a factor of life.

“We might be here because of nepotism, but we’re not still here because of nepotism.

“You know, if we didn’t do a good job, if we weren’t competent, believe me, we wouldn’t be in this spot.”

Desert Star Holdings Caribbean Limited (DSH), “Pearl of the Caribbean” Project, press release said:

“The project is intended to enhance Saint Lucia’s natural assets, and is sensitive to the principles of sustainable development which includes biodiversity preservation, environmental protection and respect for the eco-system.

“The Government and the Developer have agreed that the proposed Causeway will not be connected to Maria Islands and there will be a waterway separating Maria Islands from the Causeway. Meaning the two islands, Maria Major and Maria Minor, will remain detached from the development.

“The drawings shown at the March 9th 2017 ceremony are a preliminary artist impression and the concept is still being refined and changed in this ongoing exercise as the developer undertakes significant technical research on the area.”

How did all this happen? This is an indication that both DSH and the Chastanet administration’s orchestra of distraction, filled with their imprudent lying traps, suffered blowback from local and international concern.

But, according to Frederick, based on the DSH cash flow projections, they are targeting 9,106 passports, which at US$300,000 each will total over US$2.7 billion, more than what is required for the development.

“The Chinese are putting in nada (nothing),” he said, noting, “The cash flow statements are showing a minimum of 156 percent profit.”

For a lack of reform, the electoral apocalypse Saint Lucia finds itself in is a cruel hoax in the Chastanet administration’s negative implication on our history.

One universal goal reveals three transformations that equate to elections and democracy. First, the reconfiguration of policy; second, the merger of forces; and, third, formulate so-called re-alignments, incompatible with the structure of government that dramatically change the policy agenda.
 
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