Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua & Barbuda – Denial of United States Visas
01 September 2008
Article by Ian Moncrief-Scott for Mondaq.com A new law was discretely introduced by the United States Government on 29 April 2008 – Denial of Visas to Confiscators of American Property. Under 9 FAM 40.207 Section 2225 of Division G of Public Law 105 -277 the Secretary of State may deny issuance of a visa to any alien, who though an abuse of position, including a governmental or political party position converts or has converted for personal gain real property that has been confiscated or expropriation, which is owned by a national of the United States. Crucially, a further provision applies the restriction to anyone, who induces any of the above actions or omissions. Under the Act the Secretary of State is required to produce a list of aliens, who have been denied a visa and a further list of aliens, who could have been denied a visa but were issued with one together with an explanation why it was issued. The lists have to be submitted within the first six months of enactment of the Act and every twelve months thereafter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman on Foreign Relations of the Senate. Both documents would be available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. The Government of Antigua & Barbuda has expropriated the Half Moon Bay Resort from its long-time U.S. owners. Adding injury to insult, it has ignored the conditions under which this internationally objectionable application of eminent domain was allowed by the highest court, Her Majesty's Privy Council and has taken no steps towards payment of compensation for the physical taking of private property and title to that property. Accordingly, anyone connected to or complicit with the affair, which will include the Government's employees, UPP party members, officials of the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Agency, other agents, valuers, bankers, lawyers, accountants and advisers, could now be denied a United States visa. Moreover, the restriction applies to anyone connected to the expropriation, such as any future beneficiaries, their agents, lawyers, bankers, accountants, consultants, advisors and employees. Though, the Act was specifically designed for Cuba, it is not exclusively so and equally applies to any rogue state that expropriates US owned property. The fact that a very large proportion of Antiguans are also US citizens at birth and do not require a visas will be of concern to certain US Authorities keen to restore homeland security and increase the protection of its citizens abroad. It will be interesting to see how the Act will be interpreted and amended to fill these few remaining loopholes and create an effective list of those who engage in expropriation. As far as Antigua and Barbuda is concerned it promises to be a very long list!