By Orville Williams
The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) is looking to engage more with its successful applicants in the future, following the warm reaction it has received at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The unit forms part of the Antigua and Barbuda delegation to the world expo and is one of the many socio-economic and cultural offerings on show, with the hopes of generating travel and business to the twin islands.
Charmaine Quinland-Donovan, CEO of the CIU, explained that their experience so far has shown that many of the people who become citizens but remain based abroad are yearning to delve into the culture.
For this reason, she says the CIU will be working to ensure it fills that gap as best as it can.
“We’ve had the opportunity to interact with some of our new citizens, persons who became Antiguan and Barbudan citizens through the programme, and I think what we need to do is come out more, allow them to experience our culture, experience what it is to be Antiguan and Barbudan.
“Yes, you’re a citizen, but because you’re not living in the country and not immersed in the culture, I think you miss some of the components of being Antiguan.
“So…going forward, what we will try to do with our [Citizenship by Investment Programme] CIP-related events is infuse a lot more culture, because based on the reaction I saw from the new citizens here, they feel more connected once they’re able to experience the culture.”
The importance of the CIP to the country’s economy can never be overstated, as it consistently generates high levels of revenue; those levels could still increase, based on Quinland-Donovan’s enthusiasm, with more emphasis placed on sharing more of the culture.
And speaking of importance, the CEO made a bold statement while discussing the unit and how it has been faring throughout the pandemic, referring to it as possibly the country’s foremost salvation over the past several months.
“Had it not been for the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), [Antigua and Barbuda] would have probably not been able to sail through the pandemic as much as [it] did,” she said.
“The funding generated by the CIU has been helpful to the government and enabled it to establish the Infectious Disease Center. They’ve retrofitted the technical college on Nugent Avenue to be a secondary hospital [and] we’ve also assisted the government with acquiring vaccines [and] PPE.”
Like many of the other members of the Antigua and Barbuda delegation, Quinland-Donovan added that the quality of the content she has experienced in Dubai is inspiring and she will be looking to replicate some elements in their operations.
“I’ve been able to see a lot of things that we can probably piggyback on to improve the product that we deliver,” she said.