The Government of Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne has introduced a new policy on the issuance of Diplomatic and Official Passports to increase the level of transparency, accountability and legitimacy of diplomatic appointments.
Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne in making the announcement in Parliament recently, said that his Government recognizes that threats to global well-being have altered and intensified, particularly in relation to terrorist activities and organized crime and therefore has an obligation to preserve the integrity, standing and value of its official travel documents.
He noted that with effect from March 2017, when government will introduce new electronic passports containing biometric date, there will be a recall of all existing diplomatic and official passports, with new ones to be issued under the new policy.
Under the new policy, the following persons will now be entitled to hold Diplomatic Passports:
Categories of entitlement for Diplomatic Passports
- (a) Governor-General and spouse;
- (b) Governor General’s Deputy and spouse;
- (c) Prime Minister and spouse;
- (d) Cabinet Ministers and spouses;
- (e) President of the Senate and spouse
- (f) Speaker of the House of Representatives and spouses;
- (g) Leader of the Opposition and spouse
- (h) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and spouse;
- (i) Ambassadors, High Commissioners, and officers of diplomatic rank, Attachés, and Consular Officers serving the Government in accredited countries and international and regional organizations abroad, and their spouses;
- (j) Persons appointed as “Ambassadors at Large” or “Special Envoys” for particular missions abroad on a mission of a diplomatic character with other governments or international organizations or, generally in the furtherance of the objectives of the state, to bring added value to our bilateral and international relations;
- (k) Children of a person to whom a passport has been issued under (i) above whose normal place of residence is with that person and who are traveling with that person or proceeding to join that person abroad.
New guidelines will also govern the issuance of Official Passports, which will see only Members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives, and senior public servants attending international or regional conferences.
The new policy also introduces a new criteria for appointment of non-national ambassadors-at-large, Special Envoys and Honorary Consuls. The sharing of a list of holders of Antigua and Barbuda Diplomatic and Official passports to countries with which it has formal diplomatic relations and the tabling and publication of same annually in Parliament and the media also form part of the policy.