Saint Lucia Country Report
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of the United Workers Party (UWP) defeated former prime minister Kenny Anthony in the June 2016 election. The UWP controls 11 out of 17 seats in the House of Assembly, bringing policy stability and ease of passage of legislation. Chastanet favours pro-business policies and is seeking to reduce national debt levels. In February 2017, he reduced value-added tax from 15% to 12.5%. GDP growth was 1.3% in 2017 and IHS Markit expects it to be 1.8% this year. Opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) have made calls for an early general election, in opposition to government policy, which was supported by thousands of protestors in September 2018, although such an outcome would be unlikely in the next year.
The operational environment presents no major obstacles to foreign investment. Risks arise from natural hazards, especially hurricanes, and the island's infrastructure, which would benefit from upgrades and expansion. In April 2018, the government announced USD25 million in infrastructure investment, including upgrading the resiliency of critical infrastructure for future hurricane events. In order to open a business, companies need five procedures and an average of 11 days, according to the World Bank 2018 Doing Business report.
There are no domestic terrorist groups with the intention or capability to conduct terrorist attacks in St Lucia. The country's relatively close relations with the United Kingdom and the United States increase the risks of the tourism sector being targeted, but such risks are low. The island is not considered a target for international terrorist organisations. Property damage risks against commercial assets are low.
St Lucia's foreign relations initiatives predominantly relate to economic development and aid. A minor territorial dispute over Bird Rock/Isla de Aves exists with Venezuela, but is likely to be resolved through diplomatic channels. St Lucia faces little in the way of external threats and there is a low interstate war risk. In July 2017, St Lucia signed maritime boundary agreements with Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) meeting held in Grenada, thereby further reducing the risk of local disputes.
The National Workers Union and civil servants have staged strikes, although these are largely peaceful. The ongoing construction of the planned USD2.6-billion Pearl of the Caribbean resort is likely to spark protests from environmental groups while opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is also likely to stage protests against government policy ahead of a general election scheduled for February 2020. In September 2018, the SLP attracted thousands of protestors to demand early general elections in the country's apparent largest ever protest; the main risk of such protests tends to be traffic disruption as violence is not usually promoted.