Prime Minister Gaston Browne is using every opportunity that he gets to reiterate the importance of the country’s Citizenship by Investment Program.
CIPs in the Caribbean have been under pressure from the EU governments, who called on them recently to scrap the revenue-generating program.
Browne addressed local businessmen at a forum recently, telling them that the CIP remains one of the country’s main income-generating programs.
In many countries within the region, you have individuals with very limited capital who have been able to use our CIP programs as speculative programs to develop real estate. And many of them have been successful building out hotels within the OECS sub-region,” he said.
He said several successful projects on the island were a direct success because of the CIP.
“Let us look at the Tamarind Hill project. You would note that since 2014, when we assumed the governance of the country, that property has increased many folds. It’s not because the shareholders pumped tens of millions of dollars into that project. That project was funded primarily by the CIP. Now, the problem we have here is that we don’t have a lot of real estate inventory, because the taken up by locals has been relatively low. And I’m taking my time to point out these opportunities because they’re there,”
Browne said while the opportunities are here, some entrepreneurs are sleeping.
“I mean, people are sticking to their traditional areas or maybe their core business. The CIP program is one of the areas in which individuals can get involved in real estate development, relatively low risk and make money. Some individuals, for example, may focus on the domestic market, but that’s a very limited market to start and certainly not as lucrative as the CIP program,” he added
He said while the Covid-19 pandemic affected several projects on the island, the upcoming 18 to 24 months will see the construction of several properties.
“I can say that several projects were delayed because of the situation with COVID, but our stars and our lining and we are now about to see within, the upcoming 18 to 24 months, several luxury properties being constructed here in Antigua and Barbuda. We all know that we have a property in Barbuda. By the end of this year, the spending would have been about $2 billion. That’s a significant project,” he continued
PM Browne also called on the Barbuda Peoples movement to “just cool” where protesting against the projects on Sister Ilse is concerned