Prime Minister Gaston Browne has committed to keeping the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), but said his government will amend the Citizenship by Investment Act to strengthen the initiative.
There had been questions about the fate of CIP under an Antigua & Barbuda Labour Party administration as some of its members strongly opposed it.
PM Browne told OBSERVER media that, while he did not formally get the approval of his party, the consensus among his colleagues is that the programme will continue.
Amendments to the Citizenship by Investment Act are expected to be among government’s initial legislative agenda when it goes to parliament in two weeks.
“Having met with the various stakeholders over the past few days, there are some adjustments that have to be made to that particular law,” Browne said.
“What I am told is that our programme is not very competitive. The whole issue of public disclosure that should be addressed and I am told that the 35 days’ residency is somewhat restrictive.”
The new prime minister said, as a result, the programme has not been as successful as it ought and that other countries involved in CIP did not have those requirements.
The prime minister said other amendments will strengthen the legislation.
“We will prohibit the granting of passports to individuals who emanate out of certain countries, especially countries that have United Nations sanctions. Countries like Iran, for instance, their citizens will be precluded from participating in our programme.”
The new ABLP administration is also expected to introduce new legislation and strengthen others, thought Browne did not outline what those are.
Meanwhile, on the abolition of Personal Income Tax, a major pillar of the ABLP campaign, PM Browne said that while it will not happen immediately, adjustments will be made for government’s new budget cycle.