Number of CIP passports sold by Antigua and Barbuda and four neighbours sparks EU’s security concerns

Antigua and Barbuda is among five Caribbean countries that have
been flagged by the European Union (EU) for selling an excessive
number of “golden passports.”

The situation has raised security concerns about the trade in these
documents and the EU has vowed to tighten visa controls.
According to a report published by the European Commission on
October 25, these five states – Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St.
Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Dominica – have sold passports to
88,000 persons from countries that include Iran, Russia, and China.
The report is said to set out, for the first time, the true scale of the
Caribbean passport trade.

According to an EU report, “Visa-free access to the EU should not be
used as a commercial commodity to be sold and bought.”
Officials coordinating the migration changes say the rules need
“sharpening” with a list of “new reasons to suspend visas.”

Visa-free travel to countries in the European Union and the United
States is one of the key attractions of Citizenship by Investment
Programmes and is widely advertised by Caribbean governments.
The Gaston Browne Administration has been accused of watering
down the programme and eliminating its residency and reporting
requirements and, as a result, attracting questionable “investors.”
Accordingly, over the years, Antigua and Barbuda has had to revoke
the citizenship of some shady characters to which passports were

In the meantime, persons are asking what has become of the High
Court case in which a senior police officer, Ray John, is to be tried in
connection with the illegal creation of Antigua and Barbuda
passports in St. Vincent.

The trial reportedly was to have started on October 16, and it is
feared that the matter – for lack of prosecution and because of
John’s high-level connections – will never be heard.
Charges against one of the accused in the matter, John’s mother, are
said to have been dropped already.

The Citizenship by Investment Unit will celebrate the 10 th
anniversary of the programme next week with a social event.