Caribbean News Service (CNS).
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Mar 22 2016 – The main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) is calling on the Antigua and Barbuda Government to re-think its decision to allow Iraqi nationals to participate in the country’s citizenship by investment programme (CIP).
UPP leader Harold Lovell is also calling on the government to re-think its move to establish diplomatic relations with the country.
“There can be no benefit to the people of Antigua and Barbuda. We have no cultural and we have no trade ties with Iraq.
“What is the benefit to opening an embassy in Bagdad? Iraq as we know is in the midst of a civil war with ISIS and ISIS is in control of large sections of Iraq. We are unnecessarily exposing our country and our people to unnecessary risk.
“Perhaps it may benefit a few individuals financially but it will not benefit the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” he added.
The Gaston Browne administration issued a statement indicating that the island’s product offering stands to benefit significantly as a result of a newly formed alliance between St. John’s and Ambassador Ahmed Abbas Alewi.
It said that the diplomat, who was recently appointed as the Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to Iraq met with Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy Minister Asot Michael Monday and “brought good news of his intended investments in Antigua, chief among which is the proposed project for the development of approximately 93 acres of land at Pensioner’s Beach”.
The statement added that in a “few days’ the government will receive five million US dollars with an additional US$10 million advance payment on 50 CIP applications from Ambassador Alwei.
The statement said the entire US$15 million has already been earmarked to go towards the Cruise Port Development Project that will be done in phases.