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Educator urges St Lucia government to carefully screen investors

Published:Sunday | March 22, 2015 | 10:59 AM

CASTRIES, St.Lucia - General Secretary of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT), Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, has called on authorities here to take steps to reassure the rest of the world that this country is committed to adequately screening potential investors.

Her comments were made in the wake of the Lambirds Academy scandal in which 70 Asian students remained were stranded here - the victims of an Internet scam.

“We are a very fragile economy and when things slip through the cracks they can hurt us and our reputation,” Albert-Poyotte, a veteran St Lucian Educator, said.

She felt that in the case of Lambirds Academy being allowed to operate here, screening mechanisms must have been inadequate.

“We must not be seen as a safe haven for anyone and people should not lose confidence in us,” the former president of the Saint Lucia Teachers Union told reporters, adding that there was need for “tighter” background checks, which have been made easier through the use of modern technology.

Albert-Poyotte believes that the Lambirds affair could hurt St Lucia’s reputation.

She also feels that the government of St Lucia should work with authorities in the countries from which students were invited here by Lambirds Academy with unfulfilled promises of all inclusive boarding, an education and job placements overseas, to ensure that the students who have documentation proving their expenditure, are reimbursed.

Four men, including the president and CEO of Lambirds, have pleaded not guilty to human trafficking and money laundering in the alleged scam.