Antigua and Barbuda has once again been thrown into the international spotlight with the airing of a 60 minutes CBS programme on Citizenship by Investment (CIP) Programme in the Caribbean.
The feature on the US television network highlighted CIP initiatives from countries including St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, with much emphasis being placed on the negatives of the programmes.
In the feature, former Legal Advisor to US Customs Peter Vincent, said there is a big concern that these programmes could be exploited by terrorist and criminals.
Chris Khalin Chairman of Henley and Partners and the man responsible for rewriting and setting up many of the countries programmes, including St. Kit’s and Nevis was also featured in the footage, admitting that some islands have admitted crooks into their country through the programme.
However dismissing it as a publicity stunt was Chief of Staff to the Antiguan and Barbudan Government Lionel Hurst. Hurst, while speaking on ZDK’s Your Views this morning said the television programme is known for airing negative stories for views.
“Bare in mind that 60 minutes knows that it cannot attract an audience unless itis selling something negative and as a consequence it tries to paint the CIP programme, not only of Antigua and Barbuda but of St. Kitts and Dominica and the others as being something negative,” he said.
The Chief of Staff noted that the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada has a similar programme which requires a wealthy person to live in those countries for five years and once that has happened, they become citizens of those countries. “So it is not unlikely but instead of five (5) years, we grant the citizenship within a much shorter period of time,” he said.
Hurst said that he does not anticipate the feature to have a negative impact on the country’s CIP programme, due to the fact that the programmes target market is not in the United States.
” Fortunately for Antigua and Barbuda, for much of the viewing public in the United States, they have no interest in our CIP. Americans don’t even constitute point one percent of the people applying for citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda so it wouldn’t have any impact on our Citizenship by Investment Programme,” he said.