In recent years, the government has intensified its efforts to expand Antigua and Barbuda’s network of diplomatic relations with other countries. Many international cooperation agreements have been signed with foreign nations and new permanent missions abroad have also been established.
The establishment of diplomatic relations with foreign countries is vital to the prosperity of a state, particularly not only to protect a country’s interests abroad but also to create those framework conditions necessary to attract investors and tourists, and this primary need has been very well understood by the Government of Gaston Browne.
Despite being a small state, to this day Antigua and Barbuda can count numerous diplomatic and consular posts abroad.
These include, the historic High Commission in London and embassies in Washington D.C., Cuba, Beirut, Athens and Madrid. Consulates general, on the other hand, have been opened in New York, Miami and Toronto.
Antigua and Barbuda also has permanent missions to some very important international organizations, such as the UN in New York, the OECS in Washington D.C. and the UNWTO in Madrid.
Dr. Dario Item joined the diplomatic corps in Antigua and Barbuda in 2016, when he was appointed Consul General. In 2018, he assumed the position of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain, the Principality of Monaco and the Principality of Liechtenstein. He was also appointed head of mission to the permanent mission of Antigua and Barbuda to UNWTO in Madrid in 2022.
Ambassador Item has an important CV: he holds degrees in both law and political science and a PhD in criminal law and an LL.M in transnational financial crimes. He has been a lawyer and notary public in Switzerland for more than 25 years and is also active in asset management and investment banking. In addition to English, he is fluent in French, German, Spanish and Italian.
Antigua and Barbuda’s embassy in Spain is located in a magnificent historic building in the very center of Madrid, at Calle Felipe IV No. 7, across the street from the world-famous Prado Museum, which is visited by millions of people every year. A perfect location in short to gain visibility.
The very elegant Ambassador Item warmly welcomed us at the entrance of the embassy.
Once inside, we are enraptured by the beauty of the interior. The decor is extremely elegant and representative. Everything is taken care of down to the smallest detail.
A mega screen incessantly projects spectacular images of our beaches and enchanting natural landscapes. On the embassy premises are promotional materials, handicraft items and other local products, such as a magnificent collection of English Harbour Rum. The essences diffused in the environment are reminiscent of the scents of our islands’ vegetation while speakers discreetly play music typical of Antigua.
“We wanted to take care of every detail to cheer the visit of foreign investors. When they enter our embassy, our visitors have a 360-degree sensory experience. They are enveloped by images, fragrances and sounds capable of projecting them in their imagination to all the natural beauty of Antigua and Barbuda. After such an experience, no one is able to escape the temptation to visit our country. After all, Antigua and Barbuda are such beautiful islands that it takes very little to convince them“, says Ambassador Item.
The embassy, in addition to its official website (https://www.embassy.ag) has also created a website with the purpose of collecting the most beautiful pictures and videos of Antigua and Barbuda. The domain name is https://www.antiguabarbuda.digital . This is a clever initiative because the visitor with just a glance can see the best of the naturalness of the landscapes of our wonderful country.
We take the opportunity to formulate some questions to Ambassador Item.
Ambassador Item, how are you finding Madrid?
“Madrid is a beautiful European capital, rich in history and culture. The entertainments and cultural events are uncountable. The people of Spain are very warm and hospitable, and the cuisine is really outstanding and varied. One cannot really complain, therefore.“
How are relations with local institutions?
“Our relations with Spanish institutions are extremely cordial and marked by maximum cooperation. The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs organizes events on a regular basis that allow for a very fruitful information exchange with the embassies.”
What are your duties as ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to Spain?
“The ambassador represents the sending country (Antigua and Barbuda) in the receiving country (Kingdom of Spain). Specifically, he is responsible for maintaining and developing diplomatic relations between the two countries, promoting economic, cultural, and scientific collaboration, attracting tourists and investors, protecting national interests, and assisting his own citizens in the country to which he is accredited. The Madrid Embassy has also taken on a particularly strategic role in Europe as a consequence of Brexit, the Madrid Mission being fully operational in Continental Europe.”
The embassy has many photos of your accreditation before the King of Spain, Felipe VI. The ceremony seems to have been very solemn. What are your memories of that event?
“The ceremony of presenting credentials to the king, dates back to the reign of Felipe II and is one of the oldest still in effect in the world. Ambassadors are driven to the Royal Palace in authentic two-horse carriages that date back to the reigns of Isabella II and Alfonso XII. The uniforms of the coachmen and footmen, on the other hand, date back to the reign of Charles III. Everything is accompanied by solemn greetings from the royal guards and demonstrations of great respect for the ambassadors by the people who see these magnificent carriages passing through the streets. It was undoubtedly a very impressive and exciting experience. King Felipe VI is also an extremely knowledgeable, attentive and friendly person. I have fond memories of my first meeting with His Majesty.”
„That is correct. The Principality of Monaco and the Principality of Liechtenstein are two very important European financial places. In fact, these two states have a high concentration of people with large assets and are an ideal destination to promote our country and attract investors.“
“Prince Albert II of Monaco, is an extremely kind person and is very sensitive to the issue of environmental protection, with particular reference to the seas. In this, there are many similarities with Antigua and Barbuda, which lives mainly on tourism and for which ecosystem protection is absolutely vital.”
“Prince Alois von und zu Liechtenstein is a gentle and straightforward person with a very far-sighted and pragmatic vision regarding the future of his principality, which over the years has managed to adapt effectively to changing international financial and tax legislation. If the population of Liechtenstein is experiencing a certain prosperity, it owes much to the action taken over the years by the royal family.”
An Honorary Consulate General of Antigua and Barbuda was also recently opened in Monaco, correct?
“Yes. The opening of an honorary consulate is of great help in promoting our country. In fact, there are only three historical embassies in Monaco: the Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of France and the Embassy of the Order of Malta. For reasons of lack of space (the Principality has an area of only 2 square kilometers), the authorities do not allow the opening of new embassies in addition to the existing ones. Therefore, the Honorary Consulate is the only possible solution to have a permanent representation in the territory. The headquarters of the Honorary Consulate General is located in a historic building located in a very central area of Monaco, at Boulervard de Moulins 8. We have also created an official website https://antiguabarbuda.mc that has generated a lot of interest.”
In 2022, Antigua and Barbuda became the 160th member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which is based in Madrid and of which you are head of the permanent mission. What are the reasons for this membership?
“The Government of Antigua and Barbuda joined with great enthusiasm an invitation that came from UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili. For a state like Antigua and Barbuda, which lives mainly on tourism, the help of an international organization like the UNWTO is essential for the purpose of preparing a long-term strategic plan for sustainable tourism.
The forums and other international events organized by the UNWTO are also an excellent opportunity for discussion among member countries and for updating, including technological updates, on the evolution of the tools available to tourism operators. UNWTO initiatives are a great stimulus to continue to improve the quality of tourism services in Antigua and Barbuda and position ourselves at a high level among international players.”
Ambassador Dario Item occupies much of his time in promotional activities. In addition to the embassy website in Madrid, the embassy has created an official business hub https://antiguabarbuda.com dedicated exclusively to investors. Antiguabarbuda.com brings together in one site the most important investment opportunities in our country. It details the citizenship, permanent residency and Nomad residency programs, financial licensing opportunities with the FSRC, including the newest Digital Assets Business License, company formation, investment in real estates etc.
This is a very successful initiative. The opening of the official business hub has been reported by many news outlets. In Spain and in Latin America (infobae.com : El primer centro de negocios digital oficial de Antigua y Barbuda | elimparcial.com: Antiguabarbuda.com: El primer centro de negocios digital oficial de Antigua y Barbuda|notiactual.com: Antigua y Barbuda presenta su nueva web oficial para potenciales inversores nomadas digitales y turistas|libertaddigital.com: Antigua y Barbuda se posiciona como polo turístico y de negocios |elnacional.com: Antigua y Barbuda, turismo y promoción empresarial |economipedia.com: Antigua y Barbuda, un paraíso turístico que lo es también de la inversión|thediplomatinspain.com: Antigua y Barbuda lanza su primer centro de negocios para atraer nuevos inversores|raiadiplomatica.info: Antigua and Barbuda: Not only white beaches and crystal clear seas, but also excellent investment Opportunities), in England and in the United States (justluxe.com: Antigua Barbuda, the Official Business Hub helps potential travelers and investors |moderndiplomacy.eu: AntiguaBarbuda.com – the Official Business Hub for Potential Investors |luxuo.com: Antigua and Barbuda Official Business Portal keeps you informed on investment opportunities |luxurylaunches.com: Antigua and Barbuda’s official business hub has everything you need to plan for your business trip |techtimes.com: Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua & Barbuda: Why It Remains an Attractive Place for Investors |moneytimes.com: Dario Item on why investing in Antigua and Barbuda is an investment in your future|luxurytravelmagazine.com: Ambassador Dario Item of Antigua and Barbuda: Why the country is ideal for luxury travelers|cpp-luxury.com: Ambassador Dario Item of Antigua and Barbuda: your dream vacation awaits|luxurylifestylemag.co.uk: Ambassador Dario Item: Why the world’s wealthy are flocking to Antigua and Barbuda|diplomatmagazine.eu: Antigua and Barbuda: not only white beaches and crystal clear seas) and in the Principality of Monaco (hellomonaco.com: H.E Dr. Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to Monaco, invites you to the country).
Many news outlets around the world have also been interested in Ambassador Item’s intense diplomatic activity. In Italy many newspapers have taken up the news of his appointment and promotional efforts (imperiapost.it: Dario Item nuovo ambasciatore di Antigua e Barbuda nel Regno di Spagna, nel Principato del Liechtenstein e nel Principato di Monaco|24ovest.it: Dario Item è il nuovo Ambasciatore di Antigua e Barbuda|vigevano24.it: Dario Item nuovo ambasciatore in Spagna, Monaco e Liechtenstein di Antigua e Barbuda|sibarunet.it: L’Ambasciatore Dario Item e lo stato di Antigua e Barbuda|adnkronos.com: Dario Item: ambasciatore di Antigua e Barbuda e figura chiave per gli investitori|histonium.net: L‘Ambasciatore Dario Item ospite a Passione Italia|ilsitodifirenze.it: L’Ambasciatore Dario Item alla Festa della Repubblica Italiana a Madrid), also in Spain and Latin America (diariosigloxxi.com: El Excmo. Embajador de Antigua y Barbuda, Dario Item, centrado en revitalizar el sector turístico y económico de su país|elconfidencialdigital.com: Antigua y Barbuda, un destino turístico ligado al desarrollo empresarial. Entrevista con el embajador Dario item|estrelladigital.es: Dario Item, Embajador de Antigua & Barbuda, demuestra por qué es un lugar atractivo para inversores de todo el mundo|huffingtonpost.es: Antigua y Barbuda, un destino turístico ligado al desarrollo empresarial|intereconomia.com: El embajador de Antigua y Barbuda, Dario Item, confía en la rápida reactivación de la industria turística|larazon.es: El Embajador Dario Item y el desarrollo turistico y empresarial de Antigua y Barbuda|madridiario.es: Antigua y Barbuda ofrece atractivas oportunidades de inversión y turismo. Entrevista con el embajador Dario Item|cope.es: Antigua y Barbuda: el destino turístico de moda este año 2021), in the Principality of Monaco (Perché è il momento giusto per investire ad Antigua e Barbuda. Intervista all’Ambasciatore Dario Item ), in England and in the United States (consciouslifenews.com: Dario Item is the New Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda in Spain, Principality of Monaco and Principality of Liechtenstein|explosion.com: Dario Item is the new ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda|imagup.com: Dario Item and his position as Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda|innewsweekly.com: Diplomatic Activities of Ambassador Dario Item in Antigua and Barbuda|livinginthisseason.com: Dario Item is the new Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda in Spain, Monaco and Liechtenstein|abcmoney.co.uk: Dario Item, Ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda, Sees a Bright Future Ahead for its Tourism Sector|talk-business.co.uk: Dario Item on Antigua and Barbuda’s Resilient and Sustainable Tourism|londonlovesbusiness.com: Dario Item, Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador, welcomes digital nomads who want to be based in the Caribbean|luxurialifestyle.com: Fancy working from paradise? Ambassador Dario Item welcomes luxury travellers and investors|ibtimes.co.uk: Ambassador Dario Item on Antigua and Barbuda’s Digital Assets Bill 2020|en.cryptonomist.ch: Does Antigua and Barbuda have the best blockchain regulation?|cryptonomist.ch: Antigua e Barbuda hanno la regolamentazione blockchain migliore?|borgenmagazine.com: COVID-19 in Antigua and Barbuda|europeanbusinessreview.com: Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua & Barbuda: Why entrepreneurs & investors are choosing the country|bmmagazine.co.uk: Dario Item at the Italian Republic Day in Madrid|europeanfinancialreview.com: Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda: How We Can Help it Bounce Back|financial-news.co.uk: Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador Dario Item on the Investment Opportunities in the Country|ibtimes.com: Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua & Barbuda, Spearheads COVID-19 Emergency Relief Operations|latinpost.com: Ambassador Dario Item on Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s Speech about Sustainable Development|lawyerherald.com: Ambassador Dario Item on Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s Call to UN for Collective Approach|theodysseyonline.com: Ambassador Dario Item and the State of Antigua and Barbuda|vermontrepublic.org: Ambassador Dario Item and the State of Antigua and Barbuda|vernamagazine.com: Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda Dario Item attends the reception of the Festa della Repubblica italiana in Madrid|news.yahoo.com: Ambassador Dario Item on Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne Speech to the United Nations|finance.yahoo.com: Ambassador Dario Item on Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne Speech to the United Nations|theresident.co.uk: Work from beach? How to get a second passport for Antigua & Barbuda|thewowstyle.com:The Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda|calbizjournal.com:The impact of Covid: Racing to buy second Citizenships|unwto.org: Vaccinate Sids to restart tourism kickstart recovery, UNWTO urges|thelondoneconomic.com: Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda H.E Dr. Dario Item Spearheads Relief Operations).