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. He reduced VAT from 15% to 12.5% in February 2017. GDP growth was 1.3% in 2017 and IHS Markit expects 1.8% in 2018. Visitors face theft risks and death and injury when resisting criminals.
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. The island avoided major damage from the two hurricanes in September 2017 that destroyed several other Caribbean islands. 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. The primary risk to visitors is petty crime, with those who resist theft facing higher death and injury risks.
There are no domestic terrorist groups with the intention or capability to conduct terrorist attacks in St Lucia. 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 will likely be resolved through diplomatic channels. St Lucia faces little in the way of external threats and there is a low 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.
Protests and labour strikes are generally peaceful and unlikely to result in property damage. The National Workers Union and civil servants have previously filed strike notices and staged strikes, but such actions do not pose a threat to government stability. The construction of the planned USD2.6-billion Pearl of the Caribbean resort is likely to spark protests from environmental groups over the medium term, while the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party also is likely to stage peaceful protests against government policy in 2018.