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

Saint Lu­cia's Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment Unit will no longer ac­cept ap­pli­ca­tions from Ira­nian cit­i­zens. The ban will ap­ply to all Ira­nian cit­i­zens, whether or not they re­side in Iran. This was an­nounced by the CIP Unit on Au­gust 9, 2018. Four other Caribbean is­lands—An­tigua and Bar­buda, Saint Kitts & Ne­vis, Do­minica and Gre­nada—have cit­i­zen­ship by in­vest­ment pro­grammes. How­ever, Saint Lu­cia's pro­gramme alone has an 'Ira­ni­ans need not ap­ply' con­di­tion.

On Tues­day, Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet called Ti­mothy Poleon's Newsspin lunchtime ra­dio show to ad­dress the ban. He said: "The is­sue with Iran is de­ter­min­ing the source of funds, as well as be­ing able to con­firm whether the in­for­ma­tion that the ap­pli­cant is giv­ing us is cor­rect. We can­not do it our­selves and the agen­cies that would nor­mally do the third party back­ground checks for us are them­selves strug­gling with that."

He said: "The sources of in­for­ma­tion from the banks in Iran aren't trusted suf­fi­ciently, so there­fore it would make the ap­pli­ca­tion process vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble."

Host Ti­mothy Poleon asked, "Prior to the ban were any ap­pli­ca­tions ac­cepted from any Ira­nian na­tion­als?" The PM's re­sponse: "Yes there were, and the pol­icy that we had in ex­is­tence only ac­cepted ap­pli­ca­tions from Ira­ni­ans who were re­sid­ing and had bank ac­counts out­side of Iran."

Mr. Chastanet added: "I hear peo­ple try­ing to make a con­nec­tion between Don­ald Trump, or the US's po­si­tion on Iran, and the let­ter that came out. There is no con­nec­tion. That's very dif­fer­ent from what the US po­si­tion is or any­body else's. It is just in terms of meet­ing the stan­dards that we have."

The prime min­is­ter went on: "One of the ob­sta­cles that we've had is that there's what's called the Eco­nomic Fund. Funds are paid to the CIP board; the board then is to trans­mit the funds to the Eco­nomic Fund. The for­mer govern­ment never cre­ated reg­u­la­tions or cre­ated an Act for the Eco­nomic Fund. So, in the ab­sence of those reg­u­la­tions and that Act, it was my un­der­stand­ing that the prime min­is­ter, or the min­is­ter of fi­nance, would be able to di­rect where those funds have been go­ing. And so far we've di­rected that all those funds go into the Con­sol­i­dated Fund."

Ac­cord­ing to the Act that gov­erns the CIP, the Saint Lu­cia Na­tional Eco­nomic Fund means the "spe­cial fund es­tab­lished un­der Sec­tion 33 of this Act for the spe­cial pur­pose of re­ceiv­ing qual­i­fy­ing in­vest­ments of cash for fund­ing govern­ment spon­sored projects."

Mr. Chastanet took the op­por­tu­nity to an­nounce: "We will be com­ing to par­lia­ment very shortly to have a new Act called the Eco­nomic Fund Act, which will also have its own reg­u­la­tions."

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet says the Iran ban is in keep­ing with the pro­gramme’s stan­dards.

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