CIP Unit Rejects Malicious Article – Moncreif-Scott fingered

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ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) rejects the article ‘Congressman McCaul: Antigua clamoring to sell passports to Syrian refugees who then make the ‘jump’ to the US Virgin Island,’ under the name of John McCarthy published by the online news portal Virgin Islands Free Press.

It is a complete fabrication and malicious.  It falsely misrepresents remarks by US Congressman McCaul.  At no time did Congressman McCaul make any allegation that Antigua and Barbuda was clamoring to sell passports to Syrians to jump to the US.

The CIP also notes that the identical, word-for-word article also appeared in an on-line publication, Mondaq, under the name of Ian Moncrief-Scott . This clearly indicates that either John McCarthy or Ian Moncrief-Scott are one and the same person or there is a campaign between them to smear Antigua and Barbuda.   Moncreif-Scott has been writing villainous articles about both the UPP and ABLP governments for over 12 years.

Dealing with the false claims in the article, the following points are relevant:

  • The Government and CIP do not sell passports. Passports are not for sale.
  • No passport has been sold to any person far less refugees from Syria.
  • A number of Syrian nationals were detained by the Immigration authorities on suspicion that they may attempt to go to the USVI. But none were holders of Antigua and Barbuda passports of any kind.
  • The CIP is not handled or directed by the Prime Minister.  A Review Committee of qualified professionals from various sectors, and varying backgrounds manage the CIP.
  • The CIP and the citizenship programmes like in every other democratic country, is regulated by law, namely the Citizenship by Investment Act of 2013.
  • Citizenship is not granted unless due diligence takes place by internationally respected due diligence agents
  • This due diligence process has developed to include not only local and independent international due diligence providers, but also checks with other international bodies and Governments.
  • Only after the due diligence is complete, are the applications sent to the Minister and Cabinet for final approval.

The suggestion by the author that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has put a price on its independence by embarking on the CIP is nonsensical.   The Nation of Antigua and Barbuda joined many other countries that have citizenship through investment programmes, including Canada, the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Malta as well as others in the Caribbean. These countries have not been accused of compromising their Independence.

Importantly, Antigua and Barbuda Passports are presented to CIP qualifiers for an initial period of 5 years.   Only during this time, any person granted citizenship under the CIP is subject to re-evaluation for cause, and revoked where necessary.

The CIP believes that this assault on the integrity of the CIP and the State of Antigua and Barbuda is motivated by malice of the writer who has consistently over the last 15 years or more attacked both the UPP and ABLP governments. (Ends)

Maurice F. Merchant

Director-General of Communications

Office of the Prime Minister

Queen Elizabeth Highway

St. Johns, ANTIGUA and BARBUDA

Tel: 268.462.9766

Fax: 268.462.3225

Email: maurice.merchant@ab.gov.ag

Maurice.merchant@gmail.com

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Antigua & Barbuda opens new & modern International airport

(St. John’s, Antigua) – The twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has opened one of the most modern international airports in the Caribbean.  The 23,000 square meters new terminal for the destination, more than doubles the capacity of the adjacent previous terminal, making way for an increase in passenger use of the V.C. Bird International Airport as an all important airline hub, and the  largest gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.

There are 4 jet bridges, and a unique, state of the art baggage sorting and scanning system. With faster immigration processing times, user friendly innovations and features, the near US$100 million terminal that opens for operation on August 24, will greatly improve the visitor experience, allowing travellers expedited access to Antigua and Barbuda, and maximum sun time on the destination’s 365 beaches.

new terminal international airport

For those departing, there are 46 check-in counters and 15 self-check in kiosks. A bigger departure lounge, offers more space to relax, modern comforts, multiple gates, and an enhanced shopping and dining experience. The facility houses 30 retail units including International brands Dufry, Colombian Emeralds, Café Britt, Café Player and Subway. Free wifi and Internet service is available for the tech savvy traveler, while travelers with pets, can take advantage of the airport’s pet friendliness by enjoying the pet restroom.

There are three brand, new lounges: A VVIP lounge, a VIP lounge and an Airport Executive Lounge. The airport executive lounge, with outdoor balcony offers remarkable views of two of Antigua’s offshore islands – Long Island and Maiden Island, giving passengers the opportunity to bask in the last rays of sunshine before their flight.

The modern facility, funded by China EXIM Bank concessional loan, and by a Chinese Government Interest Free Loan, has also been specially designed with elevators, escalators and ramps, to serve the travel needs of passengers requiring special assistance.

The terminal building will also see an innovative feature intended to further advance Antigua and Barbuda’s reputation as a leader in sustainable tourism and sustainable development within the region.  This involves the establishment of a 3 mega watt solar photovoltaic facility, to provide green energy solutions to the considerable demand for electrical energy in the new terminal.

Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Energy and Investment, The Honourable Asot Michael says, “What we are celebrating today as we cut a ribbon is the largest single infrastructural investment in the development of our young nation. This facility, is one that we can all be proud of and of which I am confident will help ensure the bright and successful future of Antigua and Barbuda. It will further cement our position as a premier tourist destination of choice in the Caribbean.

“We are responsible for ensuring a major part of this, by ensuring that our islands are exactly what we promise: welcoming, beautiful, safe and enjoyable; from the point when visitors touch down to their departure we will ensure that their experience is one that is unforgettable and that they take back only warm and lasting memories of their time spent in our beautiful country.”

For the upcoming winter season, JetBlue Airways will begin direct service to Antigua’s new international airport, from New York’s JFK International Airport on November 5. In December, Alitalia will begin weekly service from Milan, and Seaborne Airlines will begin direct service from San Juan.

The V.C. Bird International Airport currently offers service to more than fifty destinations worldwide on Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Condor, Delta Airlines, LIAT (1974) Ltd, St Barth Commuter, ABM Air, Thomas Cook Airlines, Tradewinds Aviation, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and WestJet.

The new terminal will operate 24 hours a day.  The previous terminal building which processed over 860,000 passengers per year, will continue be used partially for administrative purposes.

The new and greatly improved V. C. Bird International Airport terminal is the latest jewel in the country’s tourism crown, and will position Antigua and Barbuda for unprecedented growth in the travel and tourism industry.