Group buy Caribbean island and turn it into their own country with ‘secret police’ – World News
Coffee Caye is a 1.2-acre uninhabited tropical paradise off the coast of Belize and is now better known as the Principality of Islandia
A group who bought a Caribbean island have now started their own country, complete with its own national flag, anthem, government and “secret police force”.
Coffee Caye is a 1.2-acre uninhabited tropical paradise off the coast of Belize and is now better known as the Principality of Islandia.
The island, which is shaped a bit like a coffee bean, can be walked in just minutes. But its small size hasn’t stopped the micronation from claiming independence.
In 2018 the Let’s Buy an Island project was started with the aim of crowdfunding for an island and by December 2019 it had raised over £190,000.
The group picked Coffee Caye, located just a 15-minute boat ride from Belize City, and forked out £137,000 plus tax.
Lets Buy an Island co-founder Marshall Mayer told CNN : “Who wouldn’t want to buy an island?
“That feeling of stepping onto an island that you’ve invested in, and own, that’s an amazing feeling.”
The idea for Islandia was actually born 15 years ago when co-founder and CEO Gareth Johnson bought the domain name letsbuyanisland.com, thinking that the idea sounded funny, The Daily Star reports.
After looking into it over a number of years the group realised that buying an island was much more realistic than they originally imagined.
Investors can now buy shares in Islandia for £2,480, with each of the shareholders entitled to one vote in the micronation’s democracy.
249 people have also bought citizenship for just £15 without actually becoming an investor.
Johnson told CNN : “Who hasn’t dreamed of making their own country?”
“Particularly in a post-Trump, post-Brexit, Covid world. If a bunch of regular people can make this work, perhaps it can be a force for good.”
Islandia now has its own flag, novelty passports, a national anthem and government elected by the investors.
Johnson even joked that he has a special role as “Head of the Secret Police”.
This year marked the first tour of the island, with Mayer taking a group of investors and tourists for a camping trip.
Those going in the future will have to abide by a number of special rules such as ‘no single-use plastic’, although in reality it still falls under the jurisdiction of Belize.
Put simply, a micronation is an entity whose members claim to be a sovereign state but aren’t recognised by world governments or major international organisations.
The claims are so trivial that they are largely ignored by the countries around them.
One of the most notable examples is the Principality of Sealand, an anti-aircraft platform in the North Sea built during World War Two and seized by a pirate radio group in 1967.
Sealand continues to assert its status as a nation by issuing its own money and stamps.
The Free Republic of Liberland was founded in 2015, sitting between Croatia and Serbia. Border disputes between the countries mean some land there is claimed by both or neither.
Liberland has even established formal ties with Somaliland, a de facto state in the Horn of Africa.
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