St Lucia explores legal framework for establishing medical research facility
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Invest Saint Lucia last week hosted a series of consultations with relevant stakeholders to determine the way forward for establishing Saint Lucia as a preferred location for investments in medical research and education, with downstream opportunities for health tourism and other economic activities.
As cited in the 2015 Throne Speech by Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy, the government has engaged the British law firm of Clifford Chance LLP to review the legislative and regulatory framework needed to transform Saint Lucia into a world class medical research centre.
Accordingly, a number of local stakeholders, as well as relevant government officials, are expected to meet with the representatives of Clifford Chance LLP over the next few days to present their respective inputs into the consultative process designed to facilitate the regulatory framework for developing Saint Lucia as a preferred location for medical research.
In explaining the rationale behind the consultative process, the minister responsible for commerce, business development, investment and consumer affairs, Emma Hippolyte, said: “The ultimate goal of this venture is to support the development of a clinical research environment in Saint Lucia through modular steps, and to establish clinical research in line with high legal and ethical international standards, in order to further develop the island as a recognized location for medical research.
"In so doing,” she continued, “it is our hope that this would enhance Saint Lucia's attractiveness for foreign investments in the medical sector.”
During the Senate debate on Friday, independent senator Dr Stephen King acknowledged that the establishment of a medical research sector would have a far-reaching impact.
“There is revenue, infrastructure development and process improvements to be generated [through this initiative]," he said, adding that it would also provide major job opportunities for young persons in Saint Lucia.
"This is going to be transformational because it will create another industry within the health field,” he noted.
It is anticipated that the outcome of this initiative will help develop a clinical research environment that would attract international research institutions and researchers, thus promoting subsequent economic benefits for Saint Lucia through additional demand for goods and services such as real estate, food and beverage services, office space, skilled labour and transportation.