Antigua Opposition urges population to reject new SEZ plan

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The leader of the main opposition, United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, is urging the population to reject a new government policy which details the conditions of use of lands in Antigua and Barbuda under a new Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

“I get very suspicious when these things surface just before an election because it makes me believe that they are selling the country out because they are looking for some sort of support. But this is bad news for Antigua and Barbuda, this is just another way in which they are showing they have no economic plan,” Lovell said.

The SEZ document, titled The Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (Millennia-Montaigne Developments (Antigua) Limited) License Order, 2021 has been signed off by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

The lands are in excess of 500 acres.

The license also details that WISEZ shall be free of all taxes levied in Antigua and Barbuda including corporate tax, personal income tax, import and export taxes for both personal and commercial activities, value added tax, sales tax, capital gains tax, sales and operation and development taxes and duties and taxes on inheritances and gifts.

The Zone Management Committee will grant permission to hire a foreign workforce. There are no visa restrictions which enables work permit applications of up to five years to be approved within 14 days for employees in the Zone.

Lovell, who is a former finance minister, said the SEZ is in conflict with the laws of the island, including the environmental laws.

Special Economic Zone

“It is in conflict with the local planning laws, it is in conflict with the Fisheries Act, it is in conflict with the Customs Act and it plays havoc with the existing laws that we have here in Antigua and Barbuda,” he said on Observer Radio, adding that the project is of no benefit to residents.

“There is nothing in there for Antigua and Barbuda. We get no taxes, no jobs are guaranteed. In fact the agreement states very clearly that they have the right to bring in foreign labour…so no taxes, no employment and they are free to have their own environmental laws…to run parallel with the local laws we have on our books.”

“I am no sure who was drinking or what when this agreement was signed, but this should be rejected by the people of Antigua and Barbuda. It is not in the interest of Antigua and Barbuda,” Lovell added.

According to the document that has been circulated here for discussion, any commercial and industrial entity is allowed to sell products, services and machines to the domestic market.

It said sales to the domestic market from the Zone will be considered as imports into Antigua and Barbuda.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. So this man called Gaston Browne did not learn from the YIDA deal. What happen to the $2 billion dollars we were supposed to get from YIDA.
    I guess Gaston is running a race with time to see how much of our country that he can give away.
    Gaston, I wish you would put the interests of the country first.SMH

  2. Harold you need to win you seat period. If you lose and Richard win that’s it for you!!! You do still have a contribution to make particularly on matters such as this but they are best challenged in the lower house.

  3. Obviously Mr. Harry Lie-well will NOT win any seat ever again. Nobody seems to trust this guy. He has lost so often. They need a real leader. It’s always good to have a real opposition. It keeps the government in power on their toes, and that’s a good thing however Mr. Lie-well is yesterday’s man and belong to a long gone era. Let the young people take over the leadership.

  4. The deflections will not work. It’s so obvious that you guys are intent on taking people of their crease with smoke and mirrors. Back to the topic at hand. What has YIDA contributed to the Antiguan and Barbudan economy? I don’t want to hear what Harold did or did not do. Help us understand how the country benefits from a SEZ?

    • Yida has attracted a Medical University that had an opening last week- that University like AUA will offer Scholarships and its Students just like aua will rent apartments, cars , fill our bars and supermarket. That’s just one

  5. “Asian Village Redux”

    This is another Asian Village scam. The UPP must go on record that we will not honor this agreement, and all foreigners imported under this scheme will be deported when UPP wins the government. These ALP dullards have no idea what an economic zone is or how it should be implemented.

    • Very true, They have no clue what an economic zone is ant this ifs very obvious. I helped develop the Miami Economic Development Zone and there are some Antiguans evolved in Canadas economic zones. He tells me Antigua is Bankrupt is why they are spinning around like a chicken with their heads cut off. So much to fix and this is what they came up with? They need to fix Social Security and this would drive that system into deeper chaos.

  6. This man tells so much lie even he teeth dem drop out how he lie sweet he mouth so bad causing cavities.

  7. Just wait until all the drugs and guns flood Antigua. I heard they are planning a Hugh prostitution complex down there. Is this true? Be careful America doesn’t impose sanctions on are we. Gaston doesn’t care as he probably has enough loot in foreign bank accounts to retire in the south of France.

  8. what about the people of Johnston Village, All Saints, Villa and Liberta, et al? How do this improve life on the island for the people?

Comments are closed.