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Gov’t distances itself from lawsuit filed by movie producer over St Kitts CIP

Published:Monday | May 27, 2024 | 12:10 AM


The government has distanced itself from issues that led to a lawsuit filed against a number of individuals and entities in the region, including CEO of the Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Unit Mc Claude Emmanuel and a developer previously approved under the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).

The government insisted that it has no business with movie producer Philippe Martinez whose MSR Media filed the lawsuit, stressing that his allegations relate to the CIP in neighbouring St Kitts and Nevis and the Saint Lucia government is not in a position to comment on another country’s CIP.

The government also lauded Emmanuel’s performance in his post.

“For the record, Mr Mc Claude Emmanuel’s role as the CEO of the Saint Lucia CIP Unit is exclusively for the efficient administration of the CIP Unit in accordance with the policies set by the laws of g of Saint Lucia. To date, Mr Emmanuel has performed his role commendably and ethically,” it said.

Martinez filed a lawsuit in Florida against several high-ranking officials in the Caribbean and private developers, claiming they had colluded to defraud investors.

Emmanuel, former St Kitts and Nevis prime ministers Timothy Harris and Dr Denzil Douglas, and developer Caribbean Galaxy Real Estate Limited, are named as defendants in the case.

“The case relates to accusations made against Caribbean Galaxy Corporations and individuals in St Kitts and Nevis and the management of the CIP in St Kitts and Nevis which Mr Martinez alleges were detrimental to his business and investors. The government of Saint Lucia is not in a position to comment on the management of the CIP in Saint Kitts and Nevis,” the Saint Lucia government said in a statement on Saturday.

It further contended that the inclusion of the country’s CIP is “an attempt to involve Saint Lucia in a dispute between Caribbean Galaxy in another territory which has absolutely no part in the contractual obligations, grievances, or operational misgivings between MSR Media and the government of Saint Kitts & Nevis”.

“The Government of Saint Lucia’s CIP Unit gives every assurance that it will defend its reputation and image against any false and malicious attacks and will not be bullied by anyone or company. The government of Saint Lucia expresses its full confidence in the management of its CIP Unit by Mr Mc Claude Emmanuel,” it declared.

Responding to Martinez’s claim that Caribbean Galaxy Real Estate Limited has been allowed to operate in Saint Lucia by the current administration, the government outlined several facts to dispute that.

It said that Caribbean Galaxy Real Estate Limited first entered into an agreement with Saint Lucia in March 2018 under the United Workers Party government. The Allen Chastanet-led Cabinet of Ministers approved the Canelles Project as the first CIP Real Estate Project in 2018 and sales of shares commenced thereafter. Construction on the Canelles development commenced in 2019.

“Upon assumption to office and noting the slow pace of construction, in November 2021 Caribbean Galaxy was asked to complete the project at the earliest. Caribbean Galaxy has sold all of its shares for the Canelles Resort and it is therefore no longer a real estate option. The construction of the hotel is continuing with a completion date of end of 2025 as signalled by the developers,” it added.

The government further reiterated that it denounces any discounting or underpricing of citizenship by any promoter or developer and that the full, legislated investment sum must be paid by every successful applicant.