The STAR Businessweek

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - NEWS - BY CHRIS­TIAN WAYNE – EDITOR AT LARGE

Last week the United States Em­bassy, based in Bridgetown, Bar­ba­dos, made an im­por­tant and much-wel­comed an­nounce­ment that Saint Lu­cians may now be el­i­gi­ble for waivers on the in­ter­view re­quire­ment el­e­ment of their US visa re­newal process. Up un­til now, Saint Lu­cians were re­quired to phys­i­cally travel to Bar­ba­dos, foot­ing the bill of air­fare and ac­com­mo­da­tions, in or­der to con­duct the ma­jor­ity—if not all—of their con­sular af­fairs with their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts. Surely, im­mi­gra­tion man­age­ment tech­nol­ogy like the 10-fin­ger­print scan and other bio­met­ric data col­lec­tion and man­age­ment pro­to­cols have helped con­trib­ute to the re­lax­ation of the in-per­son in­ter­view, but this editor sus­pects there’s a bit more at play here than meets the eye. Stated in the as­so­ci­ated press re­lease by the US Em­bassy is a spe­cific group of Saint Lu­cians who will not be el­i­gi­ble for the waiver—Saint Lu­cian eco­nomic cit­i­zens, oth­er­wise known as Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment ben­e­fi­cia­ries. It would seem that de­spite hav­ing their very own im­mi­gra­tion in­vest­ment scheme in the United States—mar­keted heav­ily by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kush­ner as in­cen­tives for mak­ing real es­tate in­vest­ments with the Trump Or­gan­i­sa­tion—Amer­ica doesn’t seem too wel­com­ing of the Caribbean’s new­est flock of Johnny Come Latelys. Of course, the com­mu­nique was a lit­tle more, shall we say, diplo­matic. The sub­tle na­ture of the soft re­buff may in­deed be the rea­son why the as­tute Prime Min­is­ter of An­tigua and Bar­buda, Gas­ton Browne, has been left won­der­ing (aloud in the me­dia, of course) why the ex­emp­tion was not ex­tended to the twin-is­land state and its cit­i­zens. It couldn’t pos­si­bly be the per­cep­tion held by Canada, the US, and the EU that An­tigua’s CIP epit­o­mizes the wild, wild West Indies of eco­nomic cit­i­zen­ship. Or that Amer­ica is fi­nally wis­ing up to the sur­rep­ti­tious na­ture of China’s in­ter­est in our re­gion. Watch this space, the wa­ter isn’t even frothy yet.

Also, be sure to read our lead story this week Crowd­fund­ing the Caribbean and how this al­ter­na­tive fi­nanc­ing ap­proach can help en­trepreneurs by­pass many of the ob­sta­cles to tra­di­tional fi­nanc­ing. Saint Lu­cia is a spe­cific fo­cal point of the re­search in this ar­ti­cle so I highly rec­om­mend our read­ers check it out. One star­tling statis­tic (well, star­tling to any­one who hasn’t al­ready banked in the Caribbean) is that 60% of Saint Lu­cians don’t have a bank ac­count. Read more start­ing on page 1!

It’s Noth­ing Per­sonal. It’s Business.

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