Isaac says greed is responsible for misgivings about local CIP programme and this could affect our visa-free travel

Greed is what has put the country’s Citizenship by Investment
Programme (CIP) at risk, says D.Gisele Isaac, chairman of the United
Progressive Party (UPP).

Antigua and Barbuda’s visa-free access to the United Kingdom might
be in jeopardy in the near future because of concerns over its CIP.
Accordingly, Isaac is disagreeing with Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, prime
minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who says that Caribbean
countries do not have the machinery to conduct proper due
diligence on CIP applicants.

Rather, Isaac says, it is the desperation for money – and not the lack
of proper mechanisms – that has now placed the country in a
precarious situation. 

Isaac says the Gaston Browne Administration has taken too many
chances and made too many glaring errors in not probing
applicants’ business history and character, simply because it is more
interested in the money.

The UPP chairman recounts the incident in which a Chinese woman
had indicated she was withdrawing from the programme because of
due-diligence challenges – but was allowed to obtain a CIP passport
because she had already paid her application fees. 

Isaac also cites the more recent incident involving passports being
made in St. Vincent and asks who, exactly, were receiving those
travel documents. She believes that these were – or are – persons
who did not qualify to get them through legitimate means.

Isaac notes that, for the past several years, much was not known
about the CIP since the Government refused to report to the people
on the initiative. 

Based on all this, she says, the country may well eventually lose visa-
free access to the UK, as was the case with Canada – again because of
greedy politicians.

Antigua and Barbuda has boasted, in the past, that its due diligence
machinery is excellent and that the United States was assisting in
conducting checks and vetting potential applicants. 
This, however, turned out not to be the case.