Antigua and Barbuda looking at Chinese loan to repay debt for port works

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Antigua and Barbuda has communicated its interest in accessing a US$25 million loan from China to help repay debt assumed to carry out works to restructure Heritage Quay in St John.

A new pier is being built at Heritage Quay by Meridian Construction to handle giant Royal Caribbean International Oasis-class ships, allowing the port to receive more than 1mn passengers a year.

These works are being financed by a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China, which Antigua & Barbuda plans to repay with the new Chinese loan after the Asian country offered friendly nations in the region up to US$50 million.

Antigua & Barbuda has only requested half of the full US$50 million on offer because of fears of taking on too much debt, since it has a national debt of US$1.4 billion and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 114 per cent.

According to the chief of staff of the prime minister’s office, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, it would be “impossible” for the country to pay both a US$50 million loan and the debt for the pier upgrade at the same time.

“The pier and the buildings that are going up down there, we know we have to repay that, that’s almost US$90 million,” he was quoted as saying by local paper The Daily Observer.

If accepted, the new US$25 million loan would have a two-year moratorium and then be paid back over the following three years.

The Chinese government has yet to reply to the communication from the government regarding the loan.

Although the country’s debt has trended downwards in the past two decades, it rose 34.6% in 2020 compared with 2019, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the drop in tourism, on which it is reliant.

In 2019, cruise operator Global Ports Holding (GPH) signed a 30-year concession agreement for the port in St. John, gaining exclusive rights for operation. As part of that agreement, GPH agreed to finance the ongoing construction work at Heritage Quay. In exchange for the concession, GPH agreed to pay back US$8.13 million that the Antigua & Barbuda government had already repaid on the loan.

The original Deep Water Harbour upgrade project started in 2015 with a US$200 million loan from China’s Exim bank and was scheduled to take several years, with each phase of the project estimated to cost US$96 million.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I am going to borrow Antigua and Barbuda out of DEBT. I wondered whose statement was that.Who spoke those infamous words.If your answer is TAP DAWG.Move to the head of the class.By borrowing the Country out of DEBT,according to Gaston Browne.I say,the Country would forever be indebted financially to others.I do hope you do not default on those loans.Because you have an Airport Loan and a Harbor Loan to contend with.That we the people know of at this time.By the way folks.What would happen if the Tourism products do not rebound and bear fruits.

  2. Antigua is a small island with a very small population.

    But there are 2 American medical schools, several large resorts, lots of money being made in real estate, gambling industry, billion-dollar industry selling of passports, and other business ventures making lots of money.

    I fail to understand how such a small country with a small population (akin to a small US city or town) is so poor…so so so very poor that the government cannot take care of its own citizens in an emergency.

    Antigua is full of wealth and natural resources but it is being hoarded by a very few (mostly foreign corporations and individuals) who are allowed to do so because they pay off (bribe) your politicians.

    How long will the everyday Antiguan allow this to happen?

    Stop cheering for your political parties like they are your favorite sports team. Hold these people accountable.

    The pandemic has exposed all.

  3. With all the loans we getting from China this country will soon belong to their colony…are the deals being made for the betterment of the country or to fatten those in power pockets?

    • I agree. When you default on a loan from the Chinese they don’t let it slide they start to capture land, as Chronixx once said..

  4. So let me get this right? You borrowed money without the collateral to pay it back… so to pay it back you shall now borrow from the Chinese, who never says no to lending money because they have a hidden agenda???

    Do we have any ideas as to how we will pay back the Chinese?? Ofcourse not!

    Antigua is a real economic powerhouse!!!

  5. The reporting is very inaccurate. The New Cruise is being finance by Global Port and is of no cost to the government. The Cargo Port is finance by China and has a moratorium of 5 years.
    The reporter should get the facys straights before reporting. If they didn’t understand what Hurst said they should ask fr clarification.

  6. If the govt. ministers continue to allow the PM to take Antigua into debt with China there will be no more Antigua and Barbuda as we know it because the Chinese agenda is to take over as many countries as they possibly can. They do this with their overpriced loans and so called grants which always have a BIG payback.
    Instead of borrowing money the govt. should be suing China for the horrendous financial losses they have caused when they released the Corona Virus into the outside world knowing full well what the consequences would be. Nigeria, amongst others, filed a US$200billion lawsuit against China for their losses…IMO Antigua needs to learn from them and calculate the losses and make a claim accordingly. If Antigua continues on the present pathway we will be overrun with racist Chinese very soon and they will control our ports of entry, the coastal waters, businesses and lands. The so called embassy with its’ approx. 25’ deep bunkers underground is sure to be a control center used for spying, hacking, brain washing and I dread to think what else. Any leaders who take their people from freedom/democracy into communist control need to be removed and replaced by persons who value the westernized freedoms, religion and free enterprise way of life. WAKE UP ANTIGUA the Chinese takeover is right in front of your eyes.

  7. Echoes of the 1930’s. Charlie chan commie land has plans and they’re not thinking of Antiguans well being. Antigua, just like many small nations they have “helped” will pay the high price.

    Simply do a little surface research and you will find. Read The Global Times and you will see their spin.

    $250,000 Media centre – for their eyes and ears. Loans, loans, loans!

    My email will be logged for their future eyes!

  8. Dictator and traitor Gaston borrows from China and can’t pay back now he tries to get another loan from China to pay back China. Is this what a leader does?

    Where are Nigel Christians murderers?
    Where are Nigel Christians murderers?
    Where are Nigel Christians murderers?

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