Antigua Observer:- The Government of Antigua & Barbuda has shelved plans for an Iraqi-funded Citizenship by Investment programme (CIP) project which, when announced six months ago, was reported by Prime Minister Gaston Browne to be worth “several hundred million dollars”.
In addition, Browne has reported that the confirmation of an ambassador to Iraq “has not been formalised” while his Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles “Max” Fernandez said plans to establish an embassy in Baghdad “are off”.
The prime minister said the project, reportedly to be located on 93 acres of land at Pensioner’s Beach, was “off the table”. However, he added that there may still be “some merit” in confirming Ahmed Abbas Oleiwi Al-Hassani as an ambassador noting that he was “a person who has significant resources and significant connections”.
On the matter of abandoning the embassy, Fernandez said: “There has been a spike in unrest in Iraq and as a result of that, the Cabinet took a decision to put that on hold so that is not something that is going to be happening in the immediate future. I don’t know if and when it will be done.”
Referring to the recent escalation in violence in Iraq he added, “Nobody could have predicted that there would have been this type of spike.”
The Pensioner’s Beach project, of which Oleiwi was the principal, his appointment as an ambassador and the opening of the Baghdad embassy formed part of a three-pronged strategy to invite citizenship applicants and revenue flows from the Middle East country.