Antigua & Barbuda sets great store on the due diligence it claims to carry out before issuing a passport to a foreign national.

The Government of Antigua & Barbuda and its Citizenship by Investment Agency strenuously declare this to be the case.

They claim that Antigua & Barbuda passports are only issued after a substantial investment in Antigua or Barbuda is made by an applicant and following the most thorough and stringent checks of eligibility and suitability is performed by the tiny independent dual nation.

So why do people NEED a second passport? The answer is very few do NEED one. Such need could arise to escape persecution, or because their nation state refuses to issue one to them. Some claim the NEED arises to facilitate diplomatic assignments.

However, the reality for the great majority of the applicants is one of choice. People WANT a second passport. They WANT to disguise the fact that they have an original passport and they WANT a second identity. AND, they are willing to pay well for it.

For most, it is to avoid taxation, launder money or hide other forms of criminality.

Consequently, it places great responsibility on countries and nations that choose to sell their most precious asset their sovereignty to non-nationals.

The justification used by some nations that this is intended to encourage inward investment and support their own socio-economic growth.

Should this, however, be done at the expense of other global citizens?

The issue hinges on the values that define responsibility.

Given Antigua & Barbuda's well-documented history of malfeasance, is it a fit and proper jurisdiction on which other responsible nations can rely when it comes to the critical issue of their own security as reflected in travel documents?

Is this a country whose government adheres to international standards of best practise and acts in good faith, while respecting its own Constitution and system of Laws?

What current examples of international behaviour can be offered for evaluation of this country's judgment of its responsibility to the community of nations? Is that judgment based on what is right?

Is it right that a growing number of "new citizens" are being shielded from extradition to their original nation states, to face indictments on a variety of financial charges?

Is it right for a country to use the power of eminent domain in a manner that subverts accepted international standards to seize the assets of one foreign investor (as has been the case with the Half Moon Bay Resort) in order to sell them to another foreign investor?

Is it right for country to further crown its actions by twelve years of systematic refusal to pay compensation for such "compulsory acquisition," in breach of its own Constitution and in defiance of a court order made by the Privy Council, the highest court in the Eastern Caribbean Jurisdiction?

Is it right that, in the meantime, this country has sold the unpaid-for property to a developer from another country (a country that has already withdrawn its own automatic entry to bearers of Antiguan passports), and is working with this entity to sell passports to applicants from Russia, China, the Middle East and North Africa as part of a massive and expensive real estate development on expropriated and unpaid-for land ?

Is this a scenario for international security that inspires confidence?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.