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'Citizenship will attract undesirables'

ST. JOHN’S — As plans to implement government’s controversial economic citizenship programme gathers momentum, a social commentator warns that Antigua & Barbuda might be welcoming drug dealers, money launderers and gun-runners into our borders.

“Why would that be important? Does a regular normal investor need our passport to travel around the world? For that reason, it begs the question, who are we going to attract?” Dr. Radcliffe Robins said.

The doctor believes he knows well who would apply for economic citizenship – “the new rich of the 20 and 21st century.”

He believes that immigrants from China and the Middle East would apply, along with the aforementioned undesirables “who will be able to move from country to country” with Antiguan and Barbudan passports.

While much has been made of the due diligence process during the consultations, Dr. Robins, who is a veterinarian, said that he is reluctant to accept that there would be no repercussions from Antigua & Barbuda’s foreign partners – including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Robins noted that the country’s relatively free movement, with visa-free access to over 300 countries, would now be held under the microscope.

He also looks at persons applying for Antiguan and Barbudan citizenship with skepticism, querying: “Who are we attracting?”

“Clearly, an individual that is applying for economic citizenship to Antigua & Barbuda is not looking for an ID (identification card). They are looking for a document that allows them to travel to another country,” he said.

Robins said that the response from international partners would not be the one of acceptance that has been touted by government and the task force.

“They can no longer look at Antiguans and Barbudans or Antiguan and Barbudan passports and know for certain the identity of that person. The visa allows the home country to exercise additional scrutiny,” he noted. (Antigua Observer)

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