Antigua India relations are good

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Government chief of staff and spokesperson, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, in an interview with OBSERVER media yesterday, said that despite the Mehul Choksi debacle, relations between the two countries are good.
“We have had very good relations. As you know following hurricane Irma last year, the government of India provided US$1 million to Antigua and Barbuda to assist us in the recovery effort and they have indicated their willingness to assist us even further,” Hurst explained.
He added that the large nations of the Commonwealth have been very helpful to the small members. He likened the relationship between the two countries as that of the fabled lion and the mouse and said that it is rare that the opportunity arises for the mouse to help the lion.
Hurst called the Choksi matter serendipitous, and said that the government of India understands that the government of Antigua and Barbuda did nothing wrong. He said that the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) has brought in hundreds of millions of non-taxable dollars since its implementation in 2013. He said that the CIP has funded many social programmes over the years and still continues to do so.
He said that at the time when Choksi attained citizenship, there was no evidence of wrongdoing that the due diligence programme could have red-flagged. However, subsequently it emerged that Choski was wanted by the Indian government for alleged crimes, and the government of Antigua and Barbuda has been working diligently with the Indian authorities to bring the matter to an amicable conclusion.
The government’s spokesperson dismissed the calls of opposition members such as Damani Tabor and Harold Lovell to suspend the CIP program. He admitted that the government does not have an alternative source of the kind of revenue generated by the CIP and he claimed that the opposition is merely trying to undermine the government’s ability to function effectively.
Hurst also confirmed that the embattled diamantaire is indeed in Antigua.
There had been much speculation as to whether the wanted man was indeed in Antigua or had left the island. However, Hurst said that not only is Choksi here, but the police are aware of his whereabouts.
OBSERVER media was contacted countless times by Indian media houses trying to establish the whereabouts of the alleged fraudster who is said to be at the center of a US $2.1 billion fraud.
The case is known in India as the Punjab National Bank Fraud Case. The diamond tycoon and owner of the Gitanjali Group, a retail jewellery company with 4,000 stores in India, was granted Antiguan and Barbudan citizenship in November 2017.

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