Only a few weeks after John Allen Williams (Muhammad), travelling on a fraudulently obtained Antigua passport, was executed for ten murders and other atrocities perpetrated by him in Washington DC, a senior Antiguan parliamentarian has made a shock proposal.
He proposes that the official sale of Antigua & Barbuda passports could provide a rewarding income stream to the failed state.
The scandal of earlier passports for sale by Antigua is well documented.
Antigua, its reputation in tatters, still treats the international community with utter contempt. However, its disdain and alleged surprise at the massive international outrage resulting from its latest protection of monumental fraudster and ministerial benefactor, Sir R. Allen Stanford, are indeed unbelievable. Moreover, the advantages it has attempted to take from the proceeds of Stanford's crimes are shocking.
In this latest development, Gaston Browne, Member of Parliament and Deputy Leader of the Opposition's, repeated proposals to sell Antiguan cross-border access documents will rightly alarm the international community with its clear invitation to fraudsters, criminals, terrorists et al: apply within!
For a country that claims to have adopted international principles and the expected standards of regulatory prudence, this latest announcement beggars belief. It is also, and sadly so, a significant alarm bell that clearly warns of Antigua's lack of understanding of and contempt for international standards of propriety.
Indeed, given the recent seizure by Israel of illegal arms aboard an Antiguan-flagged ship, the mere suggestion by a senior parliamentarian of legitimising fiscal benefits from what would be an illegal sale of travel documents, demonstrates the depth to which the Government of Antigua has sunk.
This downward spiral is easily traced.
It started with drugs and arms smuggling, documented and described in several tomes, such as Robert Coram's "Caribbean Time Bomb."
Then, taking confidence from the lack of serious international rebuke, Antigua accelerated its malgovernance to the expropriation of US owned assets in the form of the Half Moon Bay Resort, to feed the demands of its current partner-in-crime, Stanford.
Since then, with the confidence of no consequences resulting from its breach of international treaties and standards, it has known no bounds.
A change of administrations in 2004 promised improvement. Some had high hopes and insisted that the new regime should receive support and tolerance.
Unfortunately, key players attached to the previous administration remained in position to prevent effective prosecution of previous crimes. Worse, by making these acts inconsequential, they have propelled the corruption and malgovernance into the current administration, making it as tainted, if not more tainted than its predecessor.
Whatever the reasons for the World Bank to tolerate these actions and for officers of the International Monetary Fund to continue underwriting Antigua's demonstrable mal-governance, their primary effect is to undermine the integrity of their own institutions.
The early signs of a groundswell against this practice, in the form of opposition being mounted by certain members of the United States Congress, are a hopeful indication that somebody is beginning to take notice of the real danger presented by the country.
Antigua has an alarming mix of corporate services, trust provision, insurance and banking finance sectors, internet gaming and a shipping register. It also has all the modern tools of an old-fashioned traditional tax haven, while lacking in the basic requirements of proper regulation, financial propriety and a comprehension of the simple principles of right and wrong.
Shamefully, for the attending governments, Antigua can also brag of its successful defiance of international standards and treaties, of expropriation of foreign-owned property without consequences, of delayed extraditions and ignored financial commitments. None of these appear to matter when Antigua travels hat in hand across the world for the handouts which it considers to be the entitlement of all "small states."
Antigua is out of touch with the real world and is an extremely dangerous failed state.