CIP Unit Rejects Malicious Article – Moncreif-Scott fingered

asot michhael caricom1

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.

The Financial Services Regulatory Commission is accepted as member of the CGBS.

ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 13th August 2015…….On June 12 at their CARICOM Central Bank Governor‘s Meeting , the  Governors  approved  the application of the  Financial Services Regulatory Commission  of Antigua and Barbuda to be admitted  as an associate  member of the  Caribbean Group of Banking Supervisors( CGBS) .

The CGBS was established by CARICOM Central Bank Governors in 1983 with the mandate to enhance and coordinate the harmonization of the bank supervisor practices with a view to bringing them in line with internationally accepted practices.  The membership consists of banking supervisors from seventeen regional jurisdictions namely:  Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Island, Cayman Islands, Curacao, St. Maarten,   Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, and Trinidad and Tobago.  The CGBS is a regional grouping under the Basel Committee for Banking Supervisors.

The chairmanship is restricted to the different CARCICOM member Central Banks as the CGBS is a creation of the CARICOM Central Bank Governors.  In this regard, as an associate member Antigua and Barbuda will enjoy all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of core membership. The chair is currently held by Jamaica.

The FSRC was accepted as a member of the Group of Finance Centre Supervisors on April 27, 2015.

PM Browne continues to forge closer ties between Antigua and Barbuda and International nations

ST.JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 13th August 2015…….Prime Minister of  the Hon. Gaston Browne continues to foster closer relations with international leaders and countries as his government works towards tackling issues that affect Antigua and Barbuda and other developing nations.

Prime Minister Browne with the Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Lofven
Prime Minister Browne with the Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Lofven

During a recent visit to the Horn of Africa, Prime Minister Browne met with leaders and foreign representatives of Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Cameroon and Tuvalu and pushed for foster closer relations given similarities being either small states, developing countries and our interaction within the commonwealth. Prime Minister Browne also used the opportunity to introduce the candidacy of Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders to the post of Secretary General of the Commonwealth.  Sir Ronald’s candidacy was well received by the respective delegations.

The heads of delegations of Seychelles, Mauritius and Tuvalu commended Prime Minister Browne on his position regarding the recent European Union tax heaven black list. The countries pledged support for each other on this matter and made a commitment to work together going forward.

The delegation of Seychelles inquired of the possibility of sending a team from its Ministry of Finance to observe and learn from Antigua and Barbuda about the online gaming industry.

PM Browne with the Deputy Minister of Finance of Mexico Fernando Aportela
PM Browne with the Deputy Minister of Finance of Mexico Fernando Aportela

During his stay in Africa, Prime Minister Browne also held bilateral discussions with the head of delegation of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Sweden.

Prime Minister Browne met with the Mexican Deputy Finance Minister, Fernando Aportela regarding current bilateral cooperation in particular Mexico’s assistance to Antigua and Barbuda’s housing programme.

PM Browne being interview by South South News
PM Browne being interview by South South News

Prime Minister Browne and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden also had fruitful discussions on cooperation and mutual interest.  Prime Minister Löfven was particularly concerned with the EU’s black listing of Antigua and Barbuda and made a commitment to look deeper into the matter. Both Prime Ministers explored developmental assistance for Antigua and Barbuda.  One area identified was assessing the drought situation and how Sweden can assist in this most urgent matter.

The country’s leader also had numerous interviews with local television in Addis Ababa, UNTV and South South News. He was singled out for his numerous strong statements on international financial reform and his commitment to addressing issues affecting Small Island Developing States.

Images from Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival 2015 organised at Botanical Gardens, St John’s Antigua.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TOURISM OFFICES ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH JCI CARIBBEAN QUEEN SHOW

(St. John’s, Antigua) – The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority have partnered with JCI Antigua (Jaycees) for the 54th Jaycees Queen show this Sunday, bringing 11 delegates from throughout the Caribbean Region to Carnival City, for Antigua and Barbuda’s Carnival, The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival.

Caribbean delegates in this year's JCI Queen Show are welcomed to Antigua and Barbuda by Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Asot Michael
Caribbean delegates in this year’s JCI Queen Show are welcomed to Antigua and Barbuda by Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Asot Michael

Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism the Hon. Asot Michael, today, welcomed the delegates to Antigua and Barbuda, announcing the Ministry’s support for the outstanding show with an investment of US$8k.

“This show, more than any other event during the Carnival, fully embodies that message of Caribbean unity through this timeless competition. 11 stunning contestants from our neighboring islands are here with us. They will join in the festivities as we celebrate emancipation, during our summer festival, and participate in friendly competition.”

“We are here to enjoy and partake in wonderful art, phenomenal music, and some of the world’s finest pageantry and cultural expression…But, more than these necessary human values, the Jaycees Queen Show is about creating unity amongst the Caribbean Island-countries.”

 Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael makes presentation to 2015 JCI President Shenella Govia.
Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Asot Michael makes presentation to 2015 JCI President Shenella Govia.

Now in its 54th year, the Jaycees Queen Show is the longest running pageant in the region.

Antigua and Barbuda’s delegate in the competition Ms. Asha Frank will be joined on stage by delegates from: The British Virgin Islands, Barbados, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the United States Virgin Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.

“JCI Antigua is eternally grateful to the Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority for their continued support and assistance,” said 2015 President of JCI Antigua, Shenella Govia.

With Caribbean nationals, throughout the region, having their eyes on their hometown queen, competing on the big stage in Antigua, the Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority will make contact with thousands of these followers as they communicate with delegates with social media mentions of #LoveAntiguaBarbuda.

During the Carnival Period, The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority will also launch their carnival ‘selfie’ pop-up booth in the heart of Carnival city.  Visitors to the booth will have the chance to engage with Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism social media team, have their photo taken against the destination’s ‘selfie’ backdrop, and get destination information from the island experts.

Participants will also have the chance to win island excursions, restaurant dining experiences and branded merchandise.

Honorable Asot Anthony Michael ,Minister Of Tourism, Economic Developement,Investment & Energy at JAYCEES CHEQUE PRESENTATION

Greetings one and all and, a special welcome to the lovely contestants who have travelled to our beautiful island to participate in the illustrious Jaycees Queen Show: Creative, Dynamic, Amazing. This show is an integral part of the Region’s Greatest Summer Festival, otherwise known as Antigua and Barbuda’s Carnival.

Caribbean delegates in this year's JCI Queen Show are welcomed to Antigua and Barbuda by Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Asot Michael
Caribbean delegates in this year’s JCI Queen Show are welcomed to Antigua and Barbuda by Minister of Tourism, The Hon. Asot Michael

This particular Show is special to me because of the role it plays in achieving an Antigua and Barbuda ambition. Yes, we are here to enjoy and partake in wonderful art, phenomenal music, and some of the world’s finest pageantry and cultural expression…But, more than these necessary human values, the Jaycees Queen Show is about creating unity amongst the Caribbean Island-countries.
The Jaycees Queen Show happens to be the longest running pageant in the region, thanks to the goodwill of many

corporate stakeholders. However, I also believe that this show, more than any other event during the Carnival, fully embodies that message of unity through this timeless competition. This year, 11 stunning contestants from our neighboring islands are here with us. They will join in the festivities as we celebrate emancipation, during our summer festival, and participate in friendly competition.

To that end, I am pleased to present this check of US$8,000 dollars to the Jaycees Queen Show. It is contributed on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority in affiliation with JCI Antigua.
I am additionally pleased to be present today because of family connections. My Great Uncle, Maurice Michael, was the very first President of the JCI here in Antigua. He would host the Queens at his home, each year, and contributed generously each year in order to ensure its continued success. I celebrate the legacy of Maurice Michael and those who have gone before.
May the show be once again another successful event as we celebrate the charm, poise and talent of these beautiful, intelligent. May the Jaycees Queen Show—creative, dynamic, amazing—continue its reign of longevity. Best of luck to each of our outstanding contestants!

Thank you