Lovell welcomes commission of inquiry into airport runway loan


A seemingly unperturbed UPP party leader Harold Lovell says he is ready for the fight, following an announcement by Prime Minister Gaston Browne that a probe will be carried out into a US$94 million loan given to the former UPP administration.

Browne said over the weekend that the Cabinet had agreed that a forensic audit into money loaned to extend the runway at VC Bird International Airport should be conducted – followed by a commission of inquiry – to “put people like Harold Lovell on the stand”.

“This is a politically motivated pappyshow,” Lovell told Observer yesterday, questioning why the matter is of interest seven years after the UPP left office.

“Why now, after seven years in government? What about the e-books scandal? The Odebrecht scandal? The Long Bay land deal scandal?” Lovell questioned, citing a number of other deals struck by the government which he claims are questionable, including land allegedly sold for far below its value in Pointe, and an apparently dubious land swap in Friars Hill Road.

“But if this is how he intends to use taxpayers’ money, bring it on,” Lovell added.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has insisted that the price tag to extend the runway was excessive.

The prime minister has called on Lovell to provide an explanation for the cost compared to the scope of the works, a demand that has been ignored.

The loan was received from Credit Suisse bank in Brazil in 2012 to extend the airport runway by 1,000 linear feet. Browne claims the project’s cost had doubled from its initial estimate of US$46 million.

The PM says that what the former UPP government spent on the runway extension and lighting was equivalent to the cost of a brand new airport terminal.-DAILY OBSERVER

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  1. If there are no concerns, this will be an opportunity for Lovell to speak truth to power, and to put an end to speculations. This will be good for everybody.

  2. CErmle I agree with you absolutely. However, the Odebrecht bribery scandal occurred under Gaston Browne and the ALP. Antigua was the epicenter of the scandal through the Meinl Bank on Long Street. This was the biggest bribery scandal the world has ever seen. In every country that was implicated in the scandal enquiries were convened and some people went to jail. Antigua which was the epicenter, no enquiry was convened and none will be convened according to Gaston Browne. Is he afraid of jail? Like the runway enquiry, we also need an enquiry into the Odebrecht bribery scandal.

    • Why are you trying to rewrite history? Yes, Antigua was the epicenter of the Odebrecht scandal through the Meinl Bank on Long Street. But this took place well before the June 2014 elections. It took place during the stewardship of the UPP Government. True, the scandal was revealed in late 2014 when the government changed, but the years of bribery and money laundering and whatever took place under the UPP administration. You know that…so why do you try to give another impression, a false impression?

      • TACKEY are you serious about your comment? The bribery took place in 2016 when Casroy James was paid 3 million Euros. However, to be fair to Casroy James he said that this was for work done under the CIP programme but that he was willing to return the money. Gaston Browne said in Parliament that the money was returned and to this day their is no evidence provided to prove that. Gaston Browne was also implicated in the bribery scandal and to date he has done nothing to remove the cloud hanging over his head. Only a thorough enquiry can dispel all the myths. Like the runway enquiry, tell Gaston to have an enquiry into the Odebrecht bribery scandal.

        • You are referring to the alleged bribery in 2016. I am referring to the years before 2014 when Odebrecht used Meinl Bank, operating from Antigua, to commit their numerous acts of corruption in league with public officials from all over the world. This is not alleged.. it happened for sure and it happened when the UPP was in power. That’s my point. Now, I’m not saying that the UPP was complicit in Meinl/Odebrecht corrupt dealings, or were even cognizant of it. All I’m saying is that the Meinl/Odebrecht corruption took place under the UPP’s watch.

          • I am trying to comprehend what you wrote. Apply what you are saying to Allen Stanford and his Ponzi scheme and the ALP or UPP government and come again.

          • Yes, TACKEY I understand the distinction you are making between the bribery in 2016 and what might have transpired in the years prior to 2016. Now, let us not compare apples and oranges. The Meinl Bank was used as a conduit by Odebrecht to transfer payments all over the world. The bank was set up essentially for that purpose. However, the only evidence we have of a bribery scandal is the matter involving Casroy James and perhaps Gaston Browne. When we talk about the Odebrecht bribery scandal, as far as Antigua and Barbuda is concerned, the focus can only be on the 3 million Euros that was paid to Casroy James. Their is no need therefore to be comparing 2016 and what may have happened prior to 2016. Ideally, a thorough investigation should be conducted into the entire operations of Meinl Bank and Odebrecht. Gaston Browne does not want that anyway.

      • @ Tackey: The Meinl Bank existed during the UPP tenure but the questionable transaction occurred during ABLP tenure.

          • I thought it was a very known Antiguan Lawyer thatmet with the Odebreht Officials in Miami. And so far the PM is not a lawyer. So why do you keep on making assumptions of the PM’s allege involvement. I mean how stupid can we get. The PM was the target for the bribe. But that was never proven to be the case. What was proven is that a well-known Antiguan lawyer and Casroy met with the Brazilians in Miami and we now know who that well-known Antiguan Lawyer is. Thanks to Donna. A well-known lawyer who also seem to be working on a retainer basis for Odebrecht.

    • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock!

      Clearly You Jest!

      How Many Road Projects did AG carry-out which were paid from those funds?

      Did you ever try to understand the Engineering of Taxiways!

      Why did IACO lay down the Law!

      You are well aware that The Minister of Works and The ROSE spent their vacations attending the Trial and Case brought in Miami with and by AG!

      Truth! Justice and The American Way of Life! Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness!

      Nuff Said! You were Schooled on the Political Values of Peace! Order and Good Government!

      Hab Mercy Pon Arwe!

  3. Amen to that! Runway Lovell must explain the cost overruns. Who negotiated the original scope of works and any additional problems that were discovered once the extension work started. Was the original contract amended? Did the price of Concrete, steel, labor and management fees increase during the course of the project? I for one would like to know.

  4. Mr Tabor I’m rather new to this forum and one thing stands out to me . Many occasions you’ve laid out these scandals , everytime and i mean everytime these things are brought up it switches to Political party diatribe . So people when you read this bedtime story to your children the last sentence is AND THEN THERE WERE CRICKETS .

  5. CT gets more money as a retainer for the UPP to rebuff criticism on this medium than in the other aspects of his practice.

    • JUST SAYING you are the absolute best when it comes to jokes. You are far better than FROM THE SIDELINE and TENMAN. I wish I was paid a retainer for my contribution. Unlike you guys who are paid by the ALP, my contribution is just to shed light on the issues and counter the lies of all the ALP minions on ANR.

      • @CT you need to give FROM THE SIDELINE and TENMAN thanks since it is because of them you are able to ensure you get that retainer fee. I long for the day when you will forget about the fee and speak truth to power as to what TENMAN and SIDELINE have been saying.

        • He can’t. It’s not in his DNA. or he would have been with Joan Massiah.
          Tabor is dying to get attention from Gaston, but Gaston is paying him no mind. He is just waiting for him to make a slip and he will find himself in court needing a much better or atleast a real lawyer to defend him.

  6. But Humphreys said he was anxious, and look how that turned out…..

    Mr Derrick said “Mr Lovell that is not true, Mr Lovell that is not true.””

    • @ Melchesidec – Do you agree that the government should conduct public enquiries into those matters stated by Lovell?
      Odobrecht scandal
      Long bay land deal
      Pointe area lad deals
      Fryes hill lands swap
      Do you know who benefited from all these deals involving government lands?

  7. World dictator traitor tyrant Gaston Browne they coming after you for the ADOMS building and the “forged” signatures to mention a few.

  8. Let Us call the ENQUIRY and stop ALL the chatter .
    This is brief until later. TABOR and DESERT ROSE would like my contribution.


    I feel ELECTION in the air. Tabor …Are you ready for the following ?


    ABLP. 17. SEATS

    UPP. 00. SEAT

    DNA 00 SEAT

    BARBUDA. 00. SEAT.


    I am trying to wrap my head around why you believe that Harold Lovell is so honest. You have Harold as a VIRGIN / CHOIR BOY. Tabor you are making a BIG mistake. You practice too many DIVERSIONS. Tabor.. You should stop it.

      • @ Just Saying – Why can’t you be constructive and stop trying to use this medium as a clown show.
        Enough already!

        • I see you to need to be brought in line. Will work on you. Please keep your moniker consistent.

  11. Not a defender of Politicians however the Long bay and Odebrecht saga is not costing the taxpayers of A & B no recurring debt unlike the IHI, Runway extension, Wadadli Power Plant, e-book, hospital equipment, projects overrun, and APUA saga….all these are debts any government will have to honour in the future when politicians and their cronies bank accounts are overrun. Wicked set ah people.

    • I can agree with you on that way of thinking. Once it didn’t cost the government and the people of this country a dime who cares. But then you need to take out IHI. IHI has not and was not about the government purse. It was about WIOC aleggedly making payments to certain individuals as a part of a backdoor deal. I call it finders fee. Which by law is very much applicable and allowed and paid out sometimes by the government to any public servant that saves the government thousands of dollars. If you do a quick research you will find out how much money was paid to the budget director in 2004-2009 period for acquiring the new budget software called Free Balance. This software is now used by the entire government system. I personally do not think it’s the best one on the market. But IMF is supporting it as well.

  12. Come on man FROM THE SIDELINE I know that you know better than that. How can you call the thousands of dollars paid to Lester Bird, Asot Michael and Ron Sanders monthly FINDERS FEES. I have now lost all confidence in your integrity and objectivity. You are worst than BEEF.

    • Do you have proof that thousands of dollas were paid to these men. You should know better as a lawyer not to make defaming statement as such without having any proof. I used the words allegedly if you notice. And yes having listen to the tape it was about negotiated finder’s fee. And Asot was not part of that deal. The deal was long before Asot was even born. Bringing an investor to the table is and was always a way to earn finder’s fee. Sometimes paid for by the Investor, sometimes paid to by the government. I have always disclosed my finder’s fee upfront. 2.5% of the entire deal. And if I take part in the negotiontions 5%. And as a lawyer you should know that is standard in the industry. That is why if you have an investor and try to bring them in you will get a lot of hurdles to climb. Sometimes it will cost you the investor to leave. A lot of in-fighting that takes place.
      What I personally found clever of that deal is that they didn’t go for the fixed amount upfront but rather a lifetime royalty on the agreement. Therefore your cash over the years is much larger. Consider this like winning the Lottery and you are ask to chose between a lumpsum now or annual payments for 25 years. Soem people gamble and say 25 years annuity other say “I don’t know how long I will live so give me all the money now”.
      But you as I always say will lose every case in a court of law. You do not deal with the legality of the deal. Ministers are not precluded from receiving Finders’ Fee. But they need to disclose it. And I have called on Antiguans to get into the business of trying to bring investors to the table and ccollect their 2.5% finder’s fee. It could be your winning lotto ticket. Remember the guy that took Yida to court for his Finders’s Fee. He wanted US$5 million. I guess he lost his case as Yida made a seperate deal with Gaston of which he was not a party to. He was betting on Harold winning the election.

  13. FROM THE SIDELINE you comment a lot on many issues but you are woefully lost. Harold Lovell was the well known lawyer that met with Casroy James and Luis Franca in Miami in August, 2014. That meeting was to engage the services of Harold Lovell in the Antigua Overseas Bank liquidation matter. That was 2014. Now, FROM THE SIDELINE the Odebrecht bribery meeting with Casroy James, Luis Franca and Luis Soares was in October, 2015. That is where the bribe was hatched. Was Harold Lovell present. Please remember these dates and do not confuse yourself like Donna Chaia and TALK PURE NONSENSE. Again, if Gaston Browne is so sure that he had no involvement in the Odebrecht bribery scandal tell him to have the enquiry now.

  14. As per From The Sideline – It is ok for government ministers to commit fraud, bribery, theft or any misconduct if it doesn’t cost the people of Antigua a dime. Smh

  15. OK you need to be at the head of the class. I see some one else picked up that nonsensical and ridiculous comment from FROM THE SIDELINE. His position is “once bribery and corruption do not cost the government and people any money who the hell cares”. Little does FROM THE SIDELINE know bribery and corruption is like an incurable cancer on the society. I have come to the conclusion that FROM THE SIDELINE is a lost cause, despite the fact that I still counter his usual illogical comments.

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