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Education, the key to dismantling negative connotations against the CIP

26th May 2016

With the 1st annual Invest Caribbean Conference in its final day, many of the participants are echoing praises for the organizers of the event (the Citizenship by Investment Unit), which saw many international, regional and local experts on Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) gathered to share their expertise on the many facets of a program which can potentially provide numerous opportunities for national development.

The theme of the event centered around the efforts of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to enhance and continuously revise all protocols surrounding ensuring the "Safety and Security" of the Antiguan CIP which was introduced in 2013.

According to Minister the Hon. Asot A. Michael who has responsibility for Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy within the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, the newly introduced program which has tremendous potential to surge economic growth is very fragile to the negative connotations which surround its operations and hence education is the key to inform the masses of the very rewarding dividends that can come from the CIP.

"Every effort has to be made to explain the genuine purposes of the CIP; to show to those who fear it the benefits that it brings; and to assure those who question it of its integrity and safety…the CIP is not about 'selling passports' as its detractors proclaim…nor does it give away citizenship…access to citizenship and a passport has to be earned", stated Minister Michael during the conference opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Many of the conference presenters re-iterated this sentiment with Mr. Robert Martin of NTL Immigration, stating that CIP's are about building countries, not selling passports.

A plethora of issues were mulled during the intense two day conference ranging from matters of immigration encompassing human trafficking, terrorist networking, and across border control, to identifying risks relating to potential investors and their financial backgrounds with threats of money-laundering and terrorism financing being highlighted. Special emphasis was placed on due diligence techniques and the need for multiple, accurate methods to be completed for each identified potential client.

"To deserve citizenship and a passport, applicants have to satisfy very high standards of behavior; behavior that is closely examined by professional bodies schooled in investigations that leave no stone unturned. The reason that scrutiny is so intense and investigations are so penetrative is precisely because we place the utmost value on our citizenship and passport. To get them, applicants must earn them, merit them, and be worthy of them. That is the ultimate criteria, and one that we enforce strictly, carefully and rigorously", Minister Michael re-iterates.

While CIP is being looked at as the new "oil" of the Caribbean, agents are being urged to look for new and emerging markets because through the program our Tourism Product can be rejuvenated and transformed.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda is committed to engaging in the use of best practices in accordance with international standards to reap the benefits that a successful CIP will garner.

For More Information Contact:
Samoya Kirby
Communications Officer
Tel: (268) 464-0076