PM Browne indifferent to recent passport ranking

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Although Prime Minister Gaston Browne expressed indifference to the recent upgrading of the Antigua and Barbuda passport by one point by the Henley Passport Index, he has stated that “we welcome anything that says improvement”.
According to the latest results of the Henley Passport Index, Antigua and Barbuda has climbed the Global Passport Ranking to a score of 149— up one point, making the twin island state 2nd in the Eastern Caribbean region, and securing the 27th place globally, with  visa-free/visa-on-arrival.
When asked to comment on the improvement, bearing in mind on-going criticisms of the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), the Prime Minister told OBSERVER media yesterday, “There is one other practitioner, who said that we are falling. This one said that we have improved. So, it shows that there is some subjectivity in these rankings. But, in any case, we welcome anything that says improvement”.
“But having said that,” he added in the brief telephone conversation, “I am confident that we have a very good CIP product and I have no doubt about the integrity of my country’s passport and we would have taken some bad hits from some people, who would have spoken with spite and who sought to undermine our programme.
“But I am quite sure the people of Antigua and Barbuda believe in the integrity of my government and … that they would know that we would not do anything to reduce the integrity of our passport.
“It is a welcome development to know that at least one practitioner in the
industry would have seen an improvement and would have recorded it accordingly.”
Holders of the Antigua and Barbuda passport enjoy visa free travel to 150 destinations, including the UK and the countries of the Schengen area.
Director of Henley & Partners Gaye Hechme expressed satisfaction at the recent report.
“We are pleased that our passport power continues to climb and compete against major global states. While we celebrate this small milestone, we must however, increase our efforts to score higher, in order to benefit from the opportunities attached to passport power,” she said.
She added: “I am confident that Henley and Partners, together with Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP Unit will continue to create further international ties to strengthen our passport power.”
According to the recent Henley and Partners findings, the “Eastern Caribbean countries far outperform their peers in the greater Caribbean region: Jamaica, for example, is ranked 61st, Dominican Republican is ranked 75th , Cuba is ranked 76th , and Haiti is ranked 89th.
According to the findings, the main differentiator is access to the Schengen Area, which all the Eastern Caribbean states enjoy.
St. Kitts holds the strongest passport in the Eastern Caribbean region, and enjoys the 26th strongest passport in the world, with 151 destinations accessible visa-free or with a visa on arrival. Saint Lucia ranks 3rdd in the Eastern Caribbean region and 31st worldwide.
Meanwhile, the Grenadian passport is currently ranked 33rd strongest in the world while Dominica is at 37th globally.

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