The Leadership of the DNA is calling for an in-depth independent review and accounting of our CIP and an honest discussion with the People of our country from the Gaston Brown-led administration for what it describes as “serious and worrisome developments” concerning the Canadian government’s imposition of visa requirements for our citizens desirous of traveling to Canada. The new requirement takes effect from June 27th, 2017 at 5:30am.
The DNA remains deeply concerned about the legislative structure and management of the CIP which it believes lacks in depth due diligence procedures, scrutiny and accountability to the extent that the process leading to the issuance of Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP passports has been compromised. The release from the Canadian authorities states that, “after carefully monitoring the integrity of Antigua and Barbuda’s travel documents, the Government of Canada has determined that Antigua and Barbuda no longer meets Canada’s criteria for visa exemption.”
Leading personalities within the DNA have consistently stated that the CIP is not sustainable and cannot be depended upon ad infinitum as the government’s principal revenue earner. DNA Political leader, Hon. Joanne Massiah says, “it is the People of Antigua and Barbuda who will feel the immediate brunt of this blow and who will endure immeasurable hardships and inconvenience resulting from our
government’s failure to rethink its policy towards the CIP which it continues to shroud in secrecy. Regrettably, the government has demonstrated that it has no interest whatsoever in the investment component of the CIP and has, instead, focused exclusively on the straight sale option given its desperation to obtain quick cash from these so-called investors. This over reliance on the reckless selling of our passports is testament to the government’s abject failure to diversify and grow the economy for the benefit of the vast majority of our People.”
DNA’s Communications Officer, Malaka Parker, opined, “on close examination of the contributions to the National Development Fund (NDF) and a critical analysis of what these funds have been used for, it is glaringly obvious that the government has squandered opportunities to invest the NDF funds into sustainable ventures designed to benefit the People of Antigua and Barbuda. Rather, the NDF funds continue to be used to pay for recurrent expenses and questionable transactions. How can any serious government continue to call the programme CIP? Point the People of our country to the investment aspect of the sale of our passports!”
The DNA is encouraging the citizens and residents of our country to take this development very seriously. Having heard the response of Prime Minister Brown, and the flippancy with which he discussed the development, the government remains determined to maintain the CIP. Which country will follow next – the United Kingdom and other EU territories? Importantly, when was PM Brown and the government made aware of this new requirement by the Canadian government? Was it over the last few days? If not, why were we only informed by our government today? Was PM Brown unconcerned about the scores of citizens who had purchased tickets or were planning to vacation in Canada over the summer?
The DNA is adamant that neither the UPP nor the ABLP has the moral authority or credibility to offer a viable solution to this development. What is required is a government in which the People repose their full confidence and one which the regional and international community takes seriously. The DNA will offer the People real solutions to our country’s social and economic challenges and restore our country’s good name.
The DNA’s commitments to our People are unequivocally expressed in our Party’s 12 Pledges to the nation, specifically Pledge #2 which commits “To put country above Party and self.”