DUE DILI­GENCE BE­GINS AT HOME!

CIT­I­ZEN­SHIP BY IN­VEST­MENT

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE -

His re­place­ment at the AG’s of­fice as­sured me he shared my con­cern for the sorry state of lo­cal jus­tice (ob­vi­ously, there has been scant im­prove­ment). Alas, his dis­com­fort was not nearly se­ri­ous enough to pry him away from the big­ger fish in his fry­ing pan. What we both had deemed an aber­ra­tional le­gal pro­ceed­ing was never ex­humed. Not with the AG’s ex­pressed de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­main faith­ful to Luke’s “let the dead bury their dead.”

As for my cal­cu­lat­edly my­opic friends and oth­ers sim­i­larly af­flicted, their logic was unim­peach­able. “De man dead ar­ready; noth­ing any­one can do will bring him back. Why you want to sad­dle our gov­ern­ment with the sins of its pre­de­ces­sor?” It didn’t help my am­bi­tion that the ca­su­alty of the lat­est “death by mis­ad­ven­ture” ad­ven­ture had sus­tained him­self from the pro­ceeds of grass dis­posal—al­beit not the va­ri­ety syn­ony­mous now with STEP.

As I say, the long dearly de­parted Parry Hus­bands came to mind this week. And not be­cause of the trou­ble­some rel­a­tively re­cent in­quests re­lated to the 2010-11 fa­tal po­lice shoot­ings of “twelve cit­i­zens deemed to be crim­i­nals.” (Fess up, that’s pre­cisely what you were think­ing!) Be­lieve it or not, what re­turned Parry to life, in my head, at any rate, was the gov­ern­ment’s Cit­i­zen­ship By In­vest­ment project—al­ready signed and sealed and ir­re­versibly de­liv­ered, what­ever else to the con­trary you may have read or heard. A done deal with no chance of be­ing un­done by any new out-of-the­box pro­pos­als. The de­mons of des­per­a­tion in­spire dis­as­trous no­tions in the febrile minds of un­con­scionable men fresh out of op­tions, es­pe­cially with the silly sea­son upon them!

It seems to me our best brains are less in­ter­ested in the pos­si­ble end­less con­se­quences of per­mit­ting our­selves to be sold to for­eign­ers with noth­ing in com­mon with us—who quite pos­si­bly se­cretly de­spise us for our demon­strated be­lief in noth­ing save sur­vival by any means—than in the imag­ined prof­its to be gained from the dev­il­ish trans­ac­tion.

Un­like our protest­ing an­ces­tors, mil­lions of whom were forcibly re­moved from their home­lands by armed strangers to be sold to other strangers like farm an­i­mals and beasts of bur­den, we seem not to mind at all that our elected pro­tec­tors have de­cided—in our best in­ter­est, of course— to pimp our souls out in the names of the no­to­ri­ous twins Progress and De­vel­op­ment. (Re­mem­ber when the of­fi­cial plan was to blow the top off the now her­itage site Gros Piton to ac­com­mo­date the in­stal­la­tion of cable cars and a faux Amerindian vil­lage—the twisted tourism-re­lated vi­sion of a nutty Amer­i­can en­trepreneur? Thank Derek Wal­cott and, yes, this news­pa­per, that the idea never went past the “ap­proval in prin­ci­ple!” stage.)

When I ex­pressed my con­cerns about the Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment pro­gram, an ir­ra­tionally ex­u­ber­ant “con­nected” lawyer ac­quain­tance sug­gested I pe­ruse the of­fi­cial re­port on the sub­ject, pre­pared for the gov­ern­ment by former prime min­is­ter Vaughan Lewis and In­vest Saint Lu­cia’s McHale An­drew (re­port­edly with as­sis­tance from two or three pre­sum­ably think-alike in­di­vid­u­als, none nearly as fa­mous as the ear­lier men­tioned dy­namic duo).

I was soon struck by the fol­low­ing: “Like other coun­tries in the re­gion, Saint Lu­cia has now to earn its way to pros­per­ity and that re­quires vi­sion, in­no­va­tive and pur­pose­ful pol­icy for­mu­la­tion, and a skill­fully ex­e­cuted na­tional agenda.”

Deep. But se­ri­ously, dear reader, did the line make you blink? Did it make you, er, think? It cer­tainly stopped me. Af­ter all, was there ever a way to pros­per­ity that did not de­mand vi­sion, in­no­va­tion, pur­pose­ful poli­cies and “a skill­fully ex­e­cuted agenda?” Ac­cord­ing to Lewis-An­drew & Com­pany Saint Lu­cia’s two most im­por­tant at­tributes are “its nat­u­ral beauty and the warmth and friend­li­ness of its peo­ple.” By their pre­sumed ed­u­cated reck­on­ing, the two at­tributes were re­spon­si­ble for the “nat­u­ral allure that un­der­pins the of­fer­ings and prom­ise of this is­land state.” (What of­fer­ings? What prom­ise?)

Lewis-An­drew & Com­pany as­sure us that all of our suc­cess­ful en­ter­prises, whether in tourism or in “smart manufacturing” or agro­pro­cess­ing, “in some man­ner em­brace those two at­tributes.”

How­ever, the fruits of our allure were not nearly enough to keep the big bad wolf of

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