By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- The Cabinet in Saint Lucia has appointed a task force to determine whether the country should establish an economic citizenship programme.
In the 2014 Throne Speech, Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy announced that the government would begin to examine whether Saint Lucia should establish an economic citizenship programme as a new area of investment. She said that a task force consisting of persons from various sectors would be appointed to review, and consult and advise Cabinet on the desirability of establishing such a programme.
“The time has arrived for us to examine the case for defining and broadening the framework under which citizenship might be offered as part of investing in Saint Lucia; and if we should think that it is a viable option, then under what circumstances we should do so,” Louisy said at the time. “It is my government’s hope that this matter will be addressed with urgency during the current parliamentary year.”
She added that the task force will comprise “persons from various sectors including the opposition, the private sector, the trade unions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to examine the programs of other countries and to make recommendations for the consideration of Cabinet.”
On August 4, the Cabinet approved an eight-member task force, which is to submit a report to the prime minister by December 1.
One of the task force members is George Deterville, director of security in the ministry of public service, information and broadcasting, who is currently a defendant in a civil action brought in US federal court earlier this year by former government minister and current member of parliament for Castries Central, Richard Frederick.
Frederick is claiming compensatory and punitive damages of $25 million in relation to the revocation in 2011 of his diplomatic and non-immigrant US visas.
The events and circumstances leading up to the revocation of Frederick’s visas are described in detail in the complaint, including the alleged activities of Deterville.
Around the time of the 2011 visa revocations, Deterville is alleged to have been involved in an improper personal relationship with another defendant, Susan Chainer, a former legal attaché, who had worked in the Bridgetown Embassy, where she is said to have maintained contacts and influence.
According to the complaint, Chainer, at Deterville’s urging, conspired with US Embassy officials, including other defendants, to create a false and improper basis for revoking Frederick’s visas, and then to revoke those visas to cause political embarrassment to Frederick for the political gain of the SLP and Deterville.
It is understood that Deterville has gone to great lengths to avoid service of legal process in the matter.
Former St Lucia minister sues over US visa revocation