(St. Lucia News Online) -- The St. Lucia Gazette has featured the names of six individuals who have lost their Saint Lucian citizenship under the Citizenship by Investment programme (CIP).
The names of the six individuals – Hamid Sakhidad Barahooei, Sanioura Ali El Sayed, Mariya Barahooei, Taliya Barahooei, Shamel Alabboush and Emad Ahmed Mohsen Alzari – were published on page 65 of the March 26, 2018 edition of the St. Lucia Gazette.
According to the Gazette, an official government document, “this Order may be cited as the Citizenship by Investment (Revocation) Order, 2018” and was made on March 19, 2018.
The individuals had their citizenships revoked because, according to the Gazette, they committed acts which may bring St. Lucia into disrepute.
Nestor Alfred, who was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Citizenship by Investment Unit effective August 8, 2017, had revealed at a press conference on February 21, 2018 that 259 persons had been granted citizenship/passport under the CIP.
He said: “We have had instances in this programme where we have gotten the all-clear from our law enforcement and we have denied citizenship to those persons, because there may be some relevant information that those persons may have not given to us. For example, were they holders of a second passport? They may not disclose the fact that they are shareholders of six companies. They may not have told us that their spouse was arrested for some criminal matter. On that premise, irrespective whether they have been cleared by law enforcement, we would have denied them citizenship.”
At that time, Alfred also said only a small number of persons were rejected or had their citizenship revoked.
“I don’t have the numbers off my head, but it’s not many. Not many. So it would appear to be quite lucky, in that, the number of applicants that we have gotten are not money launderers, terrorists, financiers. Because the conclusion we [are] getting from our partners, I would say those persons are cleared. So there are not many of those denials. So far, since I have been here, four, yes, we have revoked the citizenship,” he had said.
The Opposition has criticised the government’s CIP programme, but Alfred said Saint Lucia’s CIP vetting process is rigorous.
“Firstly, when one applies for citizenship in this country, we go through a meticulous process of ensuring that the application is in compliance with our policies and our procedures. Secondly, we hire third party due diligence firms and they can be anywhere in the world. We work with the English due diligence firms, Americans or Canadians. And those persons go out as foot soldiers and go and establish who those people are, where do they live, who do they hang out with, who are their associates, where are these companies, are there any bad press on their companies, are there any bad press on their children, their spouse. That information is accumulated and is sent to us,” he had said at the press conference.
Alfred however said the vetting process goes deeper, as other third party firms are hired for civil and criminal proceedings.
“Those firms can only give you information that is contained on worldwide databases, so if this person has been prosecuted, if this person has had a criminal past, maybe one database may give you that information, or blog may give you that information, but in regards whether if that person has been followed on for money laundering, for human trafficking, human smuggling, they can’t give you that information. There is only one person that can give you that information and that is law enforcement.”