ST JOHN’S, Antigua – An “aggressive” approach has been credited as the reason for about $50 million being pumped into the economy through the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) since the Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) government was elected in June.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne told OBSERVER media that, to date, about 150 new citizenships have been granted under the CIP.
“We have been very aggressive about promoting the programme,” he said, adding that the goal is to receive about US $10 million a month through the CIP.
“The country is in a very precarious financial position, so we need to grow revenues aggressively in order to meet our obligations, including salaries and wages,” he said.
As the government continues to push the citizenship programme, it has formed a partnership with a high-end residential development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
People who purchase villas in the Ajhman Uptown project in UAE will be offered Antiguan and Barbudan citizenship.
“So that every time they sell a unit, and clearly individuals that buy these units will be wealthy individuals … they add another US $200,000 dollars and then they will be accorded Antiguan citizenship under the CIP,” the PM outlined.
The US $200,000 extra is for the National Development Fund.
“The CIP Unit will still be responsible for due diligence process and to make sure the individuals who qualify under this particular scheme would have met the highest standard of due diligence,” Browne said.
Browne assured that Antigua & Barbuda’s CIP programme is well-managed and he said that the weaknesses identified in the St Kitts’ programme do not exist here.
St Kitts recently had its visa-free travel privileges revoked by the Canadian authorities in wake of an Iranian national, bearing a St Kitts diplomatic passport, trying to enter Canada in late 2013.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)