Castries, Saint Lucia: Deputy Prime Minister- Ernest Hilaire referred to Saint Lucia as a destination that offers a perfect “VIBE” for people who are looking to visit or invest.
While speaking at a webinar earlier this week, he said that Saint Lucia is not transactional but it is interactional and more connected.
Ernest Hilaire said that the VIBE Saint Lucia is an opportunity to Visit, Invest, Build and Establish through the Citizenship by Investment Programme. He described it as a profound sense of connection, aiming to evoke a similar emotional bond between investors and Saint Luci
“When you speak about vibe, it means you have a feeling, a connection. When you walk into your room, you feel a VIBE, it feels like it belongs to you and you just go get fit into it. So it is all about VIBE, We want when you become a citizen of Saint Lucia, there to be so much to enjoy such as the Jazz Festival, Carnival, honeymoon, adventure, sitting around and watching the sunset, there is a vibe which is beyond of getting just a citizenship,”
-Deputy PM Ernest Hilaire
He further stated that Saint Lucia provides emotional connection, welcomes people and lets them belong to the country. Adding that citizenship is not transactional, it is more interactional it is more connected. “We have a brand; our brand is the VIBE that we create when you become a citizen of Saint Lucia.”
During the webinar, he also explained the benefits of the citizenship by investment programme of Saint Lucia (CIP). He said that Saint Lucia as a destination is not about just coming, putting in money and getting citizenship, it has more purpose behind that.
While lauding the culture of Saint Lucia, Deputy PM Hilaire invited people to come to invest in the country and enjoy Saint Lucia as a whole. “We are proud as a citizen, and we want the same from the investors. We wanted to be more meaningful, so let’s get a vibe about this.”
Emphasizing, the due diligence aspect, Ernest Hilaire said that the government will compromise with the due diligence factors of the Citizenship by Investment Programme of Saint Lucia. He said that background checks are a significant factor which should never be overlooked.
“We will always ensure to adopt a stringent and robust approach during the due diligence process. We want our Citizenship by Investment Programme more streamlined and robust, at the same time, quick and efficient.”
The Deputy Prime Minister explained the investment options of the Saint Lucia CIP and said that there is a Bond Option, National Economic Fund, Real Estate and Enterprise option.
“We are planning some changes in the investment options; however, the Bond Option will remain intact, the National Economic Fund will also remain in place, Real Estate will remain as it is and we are thinking about Enterprise.” He further added that the government also plans to launch a new investment option, which will be announced soon.
Furthermore, the Deputy Prime Minister stated that the government is also planning to make some changes to other investment options. Ernest Hilaire said that since Saint Lucia Labour Party came into office in 2021, the government has made significant changes to the CIP to attract more investors, including a reduced amount of investment for real estate options.
Saint Lucia CIP
Deputy Prime Minister Hilaire said that the funds generated by Saint Lucia CIP are used to support the socio-economic aspects of the country. The factors such as building the infrastructure, uplifting health care sector, education sector and enhancing the tourism sectors have been assisted by the funds generated by the National Economic Fund.
Talking about the programme, Hilaire said, “The whole programme has evolved over the years, the whole industry has changed over the years, but it will always remain a valuable tool for our country, for driving investment and bringing resources to the state.”
Tourism sector of Saint Lucia
Ernest Hilaire said that tourism is the main driver of the economy of Saint Lucia as it is a sector where GDP come from. Saint Lucia is an island of spectacular physical beauty and contains numerous things to offer for tourism.
Talking about the offerings of Saint Lucia, Hilaire said, “We are very spectacular in what we offer as it is the only country named after the woman Saint Lucy of Syracuse.”
On top of that, it is the honeymoon destination as they are recognized as the world’s leading honeymoon destination and one of the leading destinations for weddings.
Lauding the people of Saint Lucia, Hilaire asserted, “The strongest element of our tourism product is our people as due to warm hospitality, the personality of the people. We don’t teach them how to smile, how to be nice, how to be gracious, it is who we are.”
Talking about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Deputy Prime Minister said that it was devastating and taught them lessons on how to be more resilient as a country, but they were very determined to move forward. He said that the country has evolved significantly after COVID-19 and they applied the right protocols and fulfilled all guidelines resulting in their recovery from the pandemic.
“We are fastly emerging tourism industry in the world as we become able to convince the tourists that Saint is a safe place to visit. We make them visit our country, so yes it was devastating but were even more resilient and on the clear path to move forward,” said Hilaire.
“In the Eastern Caribbean Saint Lucia is the fastest growing economy and we are the second fastest growing economy in the entire Caribbean after Guyana.”
He said that the tourism industry is the great economic driver for Saint Lucia due to its warm and chill citizens.
Anglina Byron, developed a deep-seated passion for journalism. Anglina is recognized for her tenacity, strength, and unwavering commitment to delivering honest and reliable news across the Caribbean. She covers general affairs of the region.