Two Prime Ministers, No Visa

Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Stephen Harper

The Canadian Government says it does not intend to commence a requirement of a visa for Antigua and Barbuda nationals travelling to that country. That’s the word of Prime Minister Hon. Gaston Browne , after he received correspondence from the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The official letter indicated that “Canada currently has no plans to impose a visa requirement on citizens of Antigua and Barbuda,” although the letter said that Canada will “continue to monitor country conditions and migration trends” which is a common practice.

In fact, Prime Minister Browne and his government are taking extra-ordinary measures to ensure that the integrity of Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship By Investment Programme can withstand the greatest scrutiny in the developed world. PM Browne said Canada’s intentions were clearly expressed but while the Canadian Government is monitoring similar programmes in other countries besides Antigua and Barbuda, according to the Canadians, they “have not observed the same trends in Antigua and Barbuda. There are a number of countries with these programs that, on the basis of their continued sound management, maintain visa exemptions for travel to Canada.”

Other methods introduced by the Antigua and Barbuda government to safeguard the CIP initiative includes what Prime Minister Browne calls a pre-approval and a post-approval review of every applicant by the United States of America’s Embassy in Barbados. In addition, the USA Embassy is sending a representative to Antigua this week for talks with the Browne-led administration.

In addition, PM Browne said that recently, there were t misleading reports of Antigua and Barbuda passports tied to a housing programme in Dubai; the Prime Minister suggested that such statements are without merit as there is a process in place which involves Cabinet having to assess and approve each application. Following that, it is then that he signs the document as Prime Minister. Prime Minister Browne was adamant that he wanted to ensure there is transparency and integrity in the process at all times and that is precisely why there is no single minister that is charged with responsibility for the programme. “All decisions are made by the entire Cabinet,” he emphasised.

Since Canada imposed visa requirements for nationals of St Kitts-Nevis because of its CIP programme, concerns have been raised in some quarters locally about the initiative introduced by the government.

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One thought on “Two Prime Ministers, No Visa

  1. Winston Winston

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    I am pleased to know that PM Browne has put another layer of due diligence in the CIP program by having a “pre-approval and a post-approval review of every applicant by the United States of America’s embassy in Barbados”. I respectfully suggest that the same process should be expanded to include Canada and the UK. I think that we should do everything possible to minimise and therefore reduce the risks of becoming victims and/or suckers of scams, scoundrels and terrorists while we pursue economic and financial benefits. International co-operation is necessary and paramount in this matter. Let us never be too proud to ask for help.

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