Regional countries administering Citizenship By Investment Programmes (CIP) to be more vigilant; mindful, watchful of their individual programmes in order to eliminate international concerns that CIP’s poses as threats to security.
Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador to CARICOM, Dr. Clarence Henry, who made the call during the second meeting of the Standard Working Committee (SWC) On CARICOM Citizenship-By-Investment Programmes (CIP’s) admonished Caribbean countries that CIP Programmes must be seen as the best run, most thorough and supervised CIP’s in the world.
The Ambassador spoke of Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP Programme noting that from the inception of the CIP programme, the government was always very concerned about transparency and accountability coupled with extensive due diligence for our programme.
“We recognized that we operate in a world where the concerns of small states are only given lip-service; huge commitments but very little follow-up action.
We in Antigua and Barbuda are not under any illusion that should larger countries feel that their individual programmes are being threatened by us in the Caribbean, they will take steps to undermine our programmes,” he said.
He recalled the long-standing gaming dispute with the United States and said that it is a reminder to us all that the larger states will crush us if it is within their perceived interests to do so.
Ambassador Henry cautioned that Caribbean countries should remain mindful, constantly, that CIP programmes, seen as ‘cash cows’ today, could very likely disappear tomorrow.
“The CIP programmes have been of tremendous benefits to the OECS states; any attack on one is an attack on all,” he warned.
The Ambassador further added that there is need to set an agreed threshold for offerings under the CIP. He said the agreed threshold will avoid weakening the value of our individual passports.
Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP initiative brought in approximately EC$200 million in 2015 and 2016 which represents about one-third of the annual revenues for the country.