Pundits call for CIP agent in viral video to be dismissed

Former minister of government and attorney-at-law in St Lucia, Richard Frederick (photo courtesy the St Lucia Times) and former premier of Nevis, Vance Amory (photo courtesy cip.gov.ag)
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By Kadeem Joseph

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There is a call for the nation’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) to discipline the agent at the centre of a viral video advertising the sale of Antigua and Barbuda passports.

Former minister of government and attorney-at-law in St Lucia — which runs its own Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) — Richard Frederick said, in his view, one such measure would be removing the individual’s ability to be an agent of the lucrative programme.

“If you are involved in such a sensitive programme, in a programme that the countries unfortunately have to engage in to raise much needed revenue, and you are putting it across in such a deplorable, undignified manner, then I think they need to reassess who their agents are and to instil in them the sensitivity with which the whole issue has to be approached,” he added.

Many have taken issue with the agent’s referral to Antigua and Barbuda as an island that “sells passports”, calling it crass and vulgar.

The CIU has also criticised the contents of the video and has distanced itself from it.

 Frederick said the public comments by the agent raises questions about what he could be saying about the programme behind closed doors.

“He has diminished the value of citizenship, he has diminished the value of sovereignty and I don’t think that he should, in my view, continue being an agent of the government of the people of Antigua and Barbuda engaged in the CIP programme,” he stated further.

Meanwhile, Vance Amory, who is a former premier of Nevis, said while he would not dictate the way in which the government handles the situation, the agent should be called in.

“There should be serious discussions and there should be some sort of censorship,” he said. “If there is any repetition, I think there should definitely consideration of whether or not the license should be continued.”

St Kitts and Nevis has one of the oldest CIP programmes in the region.

Amory said the comments made in the video, which he described as “cavalier” does not paint a good image of countries in the region.

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