Sunday, July 21, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Minister Hilaire refutes allegations, defends CIP programme; claims there is no $1.4B

Saint Lucia: Dr Ernest Hilaire, Deputy Prime Minister during the address tried to clarify the allegations that have been imposed by the Leader of Opposition and Former Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and MSR Media’s Philippe Martinez. He initiated by saying, “I don’t know MSR Media or Philippe Martinez and Saint Lucia has no dealings with them in regard to CIP.”

Talking about the allegations of Philip Martinez, the minister calls them baseless. Philippe Martinez is the owner of film production company, MSR Media that has filed RICO lawsuit against Saint Lucia CIP CEO Mc Claude Emmanuel, Caribbean Galaxy, a real estate firm and are planning to add Minister of Tourism Ernest as a defendant.

The RICO suit by MSR Media highlights that Caribbean Galaxy, managed by Ying Jin, has been selling CBI applications at a discounted price.

Ernest Hilaire, also the Minister of Investment, described the allegations as ‘scandalous and malicious’ and are spread to defame Saint Lucia and its CIP. He said that there is no $1.4 billion, it is just ‘false claims’ and an agenda that is being run by MSR and UWP.

He noted that during the period of July 2021 to March 2024, the CIP Unit approved 2047 applications, out of which 1367 were Real Estate applications for Caribbean Galaxy Real Estate.

Minister Hilaire said these are the actual stats contrary to what Philippe Martinez and Allen Chastanet are stating. With 1,367 applications, no mathematical calculations equate to $1.2/$1.4 billion.

He also stated that former Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was in a position of leadership when the Caribbean Galaxy was brought to Saint Lucia in the year 2018. “But why is his name not brought in the suit?”

Chastnest made Caribbean Galaxy an approved developer under the real estate investment regime while he was serving as the Prime Minister. The company bought the canal’s land and the UWP administration allotted them the construction of a resort at the Canal.

Hilaire shared that while he was in opposition, he used to speak about no construction activity being noticed in Saint Lucia by them and not even in St Kitts and Nevis.

Even after Saint Lucia Labour Party came to power in July 2021, no construction was there at the site. The structure that existed was of a residential building for 200 Chinese workers.

He further added that the administration had a meeting with Galaxy in November in 2021 and were informed that the company should construct a resort as per the law, also as they were holding money in escrow account in Hong Kong.

Galaxy and the government of Saint Lucia agreed upon the commencement of the resort construction after the company is able to sell for their project in St Kitts. Minister Hilaire stated that under the administration of SLP the resort’s construction began in early 2023 and is continuing with 300 Saint Lucians employed on site.

Allen Chastnet, in an interview, admitted that they were aware of the fraudulent activities the company was doing, “Yes, while we were in government. And so, what was being alleged was that Galaxy was selling the citizenship, or the real estate investment, for $300,000 and providing financing. So, you come, you put down $150,000, and they say they’re going to finance the rest of it.”

Refuting the allegation minister Hilaire revealed that Saint Lucia had never approved 14,000 applications. Sharing the application process, he added that the Investment in real estate must first pass all the rigorous due diligence requirements and after it gets the approval, then the shares can be purchased in a development. For the following the minimum stated price in Saint Lucia is US$200,000.

Minister Hilaire further clarified that the money is paid directly into an escrow account and not in any personal account. He noted that the transferred money is the developer’s money and not the Government’s. The following is to be used to develop the resort in accordance with the approved development plan.

In Saint Lucia, the applicant only pays an administration fee of US$50,000 for each application to the government, in addition to the minimum of US$200,000 in investment shares.

Clarifying the claims of using a Chinese Due Diligence company and talking about the transparency and strictness, the Minister added that the due diligence process is followed rigorously by firms from the USA and and the UK and is further undertaken by JRCC.

Opposition leader of UWP Allen Chastanet has accused Dr Ernest Hilaire and Mc Claude Emmanuel, CEO, of just presenting the prepared statements and hiding behind while the controversy over misconduct in Saint Lucia’s Citizenship By Investment Programme (CIP) is all over the place.

Hilaire shared that they plan to engage with an international audit firm to immediately start an audit and review of how the Unit has operated since its establishment in 2016.

This has been done with the intent to review the current processes, policies and procedures in the working of CIP Unit. Also, its relationship to developers, promoters and agents and the establishment of escrow accounts to get the recommendations on the governance and implement for better governance, transparency, integrity compliance and processes.

The audit will reveal the number of applications received and granted and the money collected and spent.

In May, MSR Media filled the RICO in a US Federal court against Les Khan (CEO Of Caribbean Galaxy), and Ying Jin (Owner of Caribbean Galaxy), Mc Claude Emmanuel – Head of CIP Saint Lucia, Timothy Harris (Former Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis), Denzil Douglas (Former Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis) and Faron Lawrence.

They have revealed that all the individuals have been engaged in a racket related to the CIPs in St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia.

Popular Articles