Antigua and Barbuda Set To Import Skilled Workers to Meet Construction Demands


The rapid growth in Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism and real estate sectors has created a high demand for skilled construction workers.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne noted the need for construction expertise, driven by major hotel projects and high-end private properties.

He emphasized that the country has attracted more luxury properties than other Caribbean nations, including projects in the PLH Project, Jumby Bay, Windward Beach, Galley Bay Heights, Pearns Point, and Mill Reef Club.

PM Browne recounted a contractor’s need to double his 150-person workforce for upcoming projects, including the Nikki Beach Hotel Development, the Marriot Resort at Yeptons, and the potential One-and-Only resort at Half Moon Bay.

To address this, the government is considering recruiting skilled workers from outside the Caribbean to meet the growing labor demand and support the country’s development and economic growth.

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  1. Total BS! This is a ruse to bring in cheap workers from Asia. Any “project” that doesn’t benefit the workers already in the country is not a project we need. We don’t want any asian village in this country.

  2. This is a clandestine and smart way to swamp our local construction industry and our labour market with none other than Chinese workers. History is being repeated but instead of Europeans, the Chinese are fast becoming our new masters.
    We are still recovering from the effects of British colonialism and we should stop repeating the same mistakes hoping for different results.
    China has a Caribbean strategy that fits right into Antigua nicely. Our leaders are blinded to this and cannot see where this is heading so they continue to give everything to the Chinese. Our people better stand up and resist before it’s too late.

  3. We all can see what is happening. Is flood our country with Chinese, we better wake up in this country.

  4. Where are the labourites that love to say people just like to criticise? There are still so many unemployed people in this place and begging in town is at an all time high. Come on man, we had more than enough time to upgrade our peoples skills from mere labourers to skilled workers. But,nothing has been done as we set to open up our NEVER-ending exercise of cramming this country with, just about anybody.
    Hope we will be happy when we reap the storm.

  5. This maybe a shock to some of you but the fact of the matter is that Antigua (and the entire Caribbean) has a lack of “expertise” and truly “skilled workers” in the construction industry. This is no secret and even the proudest Antiguan construction worker knows this – I have had this discussion with several engineers, architects and tradespeople over the years. Sure, there are some capable construction people on the island but there is a big difference in Antiguan or Caribbean expertise compared to American, Chinese, UK, Canadian, etc. expertise.

  6. The ALP is deliberate in its actions. The young men and a few women are being ‘trained ‘ to be brush cutters while it is bent on developing folks from outside of the region who will have qualified to vote by the time the elections are due, barring snap elections and that is the sole purpose of inviting them. We have been promised over 3 dozen projects, of which not a single one has materialized and they are making promises again. The Caribbean nationals need to be focused and understanding what the Money-Hawk is doing to them; they are not even remembered anymore.

  7. Hope all are paying attention. What the hell is this? Another dumb a$$, unjustified move from the dunce in finance?
    We’re already overrun with foreigners, Chinese,Syrians, now Philiopinos?
    We must get rid of this curse before he destroys Antigua and Barbuda.

  8. My question is, what happens when the construction phases completed, how many will be going back to their homelands.

  9. @westside..
    Stop your bullshit dude..I’ve traveled in Europe and all over the world since I was young, now I live here in the states for the past 30yrs or so, and when it comes to building houses,the smaller islands have some of the most well constructed building in the world. Here in Florida there have been many reports as you might have heard where buildings just collapsed or a little storm comes and blow away entire towns. So stop the crap about better skilled construction workers. Some of these houses that are put in some of these hills and cliffs in some of these Caribbean islands are marvels to look at and can stand up to almost any storm thrown at them.

    Building something faster doesn’t mean it’s better, like here in Florida, and I will put up the skills(in construction) in most of the Caribbean up against almost anyone in the world.
    What we lack in is the equipment that some of these other countries have, but we are certainly not lacking in skills.

    Case in point..I will prefer to take my cars ( if I could) to any mechanic in some of the islands than these fools here in the states..facts.

    So stop peddling that garbage,joker..take it from a man who have lived it, and once hold unto that same bullshit notion that you do.

    Give many of the Caribbean people the same opportunity, and they will do the job just as effective, and in many cases way better. Most of these people here in the so-called skills department can’t even figure out a simple math equation without a calculator, much less having the skills to build anything effectively.

  10. Meanwhile poor picky head people continue to suffer under lack of regulations for these thiefing and incompetent contractors in this country.

  11. This is a LIE go down by the market everyday and count the amount of construction workers seeking employment.

    Scores of construction workers are unemployed. Scores are under paid.

    This is a move to import cheap labour from Mexico,, Santo Domingo, and the Philippines.

    They are going to undermine the construction industry with cheap labour. Presently the construction workers are demanding premium pay, which has increased the cost of construction.


  12. @Islanman26…you’re speaking “facts.”
    The Construction Industry should be UNIONISED, in particular when it comes to COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION.
    The UNIONS which can be established in the OECS and possibly CARICOM must set up their own Training Facilities to have a steady supply of workers, who can take their skills island to island when necessary.

    It’s PPP – Piss Poor Planning on the part of those charged with managing the People’s affairs.

    There is a large percentage of Caribbean Nationals who are involved in all aspects of the Construction Industry in North America and they come from the Union(s).

    One of the main reasons for bringing in these [foreign] workers is to fulfil the stipulations put forth in these GRANTS or LOANS Agreement(s). It’s by design!

    Jumbee_Picknee aka Ras Smood
    De’ole Dutty Peg🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

    Vere C. Edwards

  13. ABLP is bringing in more people (workers) to get there votes for the next election. GB has no intention of leaving office.

  14. @Islanman26…

    Thanks for giving me quite a chuckle at your absolutely comical reply to my previous comment; your car mechanic rant is hilariously absurd. Like you (apparently), I live in Florida and also have a home in Antigua where I am currently making final preparations for the hurricane season before I return to FL. I go back and forth regularly. I have lived on two other islands in the Caribbean and have visited over a dozen more so I have seen and heard a lot.

    “A little storm comes and blow away entire towns…” Please tell me the “towns” in Florida where “a little storm” blew them away… Very amusing… Regardless, I am not talking about storms, wood-frame construction or Florida building codes, I’m talking about (like the Prime Minister) the availability of a limited workforce that meets the requirements of a contractor.

    Caribbean construction workers need to have the qualifications, abilities and experience (like everyone else) but small islands in particular will always be at a disadvantage (especially during a so-called “construction boom”) due to the limitations of a large pool of dedicated “expertise” as the Prime Minister has mentioned. This is nothing new and has been occurring for decades throughout the Caribbean. Some islands have more of a labor shortage then others and I agree that governments should be establishing more island-based training facilities to try and address this.

    Ultimately, the companies investing money into the islands for construction projects will work with the government(s) and decide what qualified local workers are available to work certain positions with the contractors own people (brought in from wherever) no matter how much you or others huff and puff about it.

  15. @westside.

    But that wasn’t your argument at all..your argument was totally dismissive of island skills, and that’s what I was calling out to be a bullshit argument you are making for the government to just bring in other skilled workers from more than likely mexico or Asia.

    Now if you are talking economics(which you are) I get your point, but the fullness of your argument was a little disingenuous to the people of Antigua and Barbuda as to their skill level.

    Did you see where many opined that there are lots of skilled workers out of work here in Antigua? I hope you do see that…so the emphasis of this government should be to start at “A” by helping and growing home base skilled workers, and not jump straight to “Z” and spew this type of rhetoric about lack of skills in Antigua.

    It’s a very defeatist statement and does not inspire confidence..So please understand the two arguments here, that yours is bullshit and the majority of us wants to see opportunities and growth in the Caribbean, and not just keep bringing in foreigners and pretending that we are just unskilled here in Antigua.

    And yes, I too invest in the very same way in my “island’s” as you do.

  16. @Islanman26…

    As you know, this is not a Gaston Browne or Antigua-only issue; this is a Caribbean wide issue and many small islands have been utilizing/requesting foreign construction workers for decades. And please don’t bring up the future voting base argument or Chinese takeover hysteria; that is weak. It is far from bullshit if governments throughout the Caribbean feel that it is in their countries best interest to bring in foreign workers to help with accomplishing their goals even if it upsets the likes of you and others. Clearly, what one person claims is a skilled worker maybe looked it very differently by someone else, especially in the construction industry. I’m amazed you can’t comprehend that.

    Over the years, I have watched with interest many construction projects in Antigua and spoken to some of those directly involved from infrastructure work to resort construction to the Canada Place building and while all these projects have employed Antiguans, many roles have had to be filled by foreign workers due to a lack of specialized skills and/or availability on the island – I have heard these exact words from Antiguans and “foreigners” themselves. It’s a common problem on a small island that the companies/investors behind the projects have solved with non-locals. I’m curious, do you have issues with Jamaican or Dominican Republic workers being brought to Antigua or is your beef with non-Caribbean residents?

    Wanting to “see opportunities and growth in the Caribbean, and not just keep bringing in foreigners” will take a lot more than wishful thinking. Somethings will change, somethings will stay the same.

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