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(Antigua Observer) The Political Leader of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) Harold Lovell said he will take on Prime Minister Gaston Browne in a public debate on the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) at any time.

However, he wants the debate to touch on a wider range of issues than that which the PM is calling for.

Yesterday, Browne issued his challenge to Lovell via OBSERVER media, calling on him to “defend his misinformation about the CIP” just days after the Canadian government imposed visa requirements on citizens of Antigua & Barbuda.

Lovell has since issued a number of conditions under which the debate should take place.

He told OBSERVER media, “Given the current state of the economy, the underperforming tourism sector, the high cost of living, high unemployment, rising crime, crumbling infrastructure and other pressing issues affecting Antiguans and Barbudans, it would be remiss of me to engage in a public debate with PM Browne that is limited to the single issue of the CIP.”

Lovell, a former finance minister and also former tourism minister during the UPP’s tenure from 2004 to 2014, stressed that there is no merit in debating just the CIP.

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