PM Browne explains what happened to Western imperial Special Economic Zone Project

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Special Economic Zone

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Senator Damani Tabor is crying shame on the Gaston Browne Administration for allowing an investor to pack up and leave the country in less than a year after he signed an agreement for another Special Economic Zone.

The Government and an Indian investor had entered into a contract for the Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ) project.

However, since the agreement was gazetted on September 23, last year, no construction or commercial activity has taken place in the zone – which stretches from Five Islands to Jennings – apart from the land having been cleared and livestock farmers removed.

Tabor, the Public Relations Officer of the United Progressive Party (UPP), refers to the project as a big failure from which only the Prime Minister appears to have benefitted – by renting his Jolly Harbour home to the investor.

Tabor says it is strange and alarming that the investor appears to have disappeared without a trace and there has been no explanation from the Government.

He is reminding the Nation that WISEZ is one of the more than 26 projects that the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Government has failed to get off the ground.

Over 500 acres of what had been farmland were sold privately to the Indian investor – 304 acres in Five Islands and 245 acres in Jennings. In order to make the site a Special Economic Zone, the Browne Administration went to Parliament to reduce the acreage required.

In the licensing agreement, the Government gave the developer a number of special incentives and concessions that will remain in force during the life of the Zone.

These concessions are applicable not only to the licensee, but to any entity permitted to operate a business or industry in the Zone.

The agreement also grants the investor a one-time licence – into perpetuity – for food, beverage, liquor, entertainment, hotel and casino – again for the life of the the Zone’s operation.

The Government justified these concessions by saying the Special Economic Zone would attract domestic and foreign direct investment. Universities, five-star hotels and factories, among other businesses, were expected to be constructed within the 500 acres.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Gaston Browne how is this excuse even acceptable? Every single one of your investments have failed. The only difference with Western Imperial is that you made out like a bandit by getting some money in yiur personal pocket. Ryan had to sue these people and even YIDA. All of the workers, watchmen, construction etc were not paid and you have the nerve to ask what did we lose? This is the best you can offer Antiguans and Barbudans? You’re a selfish pig and that’s why we’re voting you out.

  2. Gaston get the damn JOBS going!

    With ABLP failing on over 26 projects, plus the other 10 Lennox Weston admitted slipped through their hands, we lost over 15 billion in investment and 7000 permanent jobs! Gaston should resign out of shame. Do the honourable thing.

    Oh yes, that’s right. A man that takes $20,000 US monthly rent from a failed investor that doesn’t even pay his workers… that’s not a man that will do the honourable thing EVER

    We need UPP in Government to get some of these ALP failed projects brought back to life, to provide jobs and an economic shot in the arm… using the Investment Authority or however else:

    1. Sunny Hill Project (Resort in Falmouth/Bethesda area)
    2. Beaches Resort by Sandals Resorts
    3. Half Moon Bay Hotel
    4. Morris Bay / Callaloo Cay Project
    5. Hotel Resort on Pelican Island and Residences on Maiden Island
    6. Labahia Hotel Resort & Condominiums (Marble Hill Business Hotel) by WIOC
    7. Long Bay Hotel Resort by WIOC
    8. Valley Church Hotel Resort by WIOC/PDVSA
    9. Amazon Call Center at Five Islands
    10. Marriott Autograph Hotel at Yeptons
    11. Beach Club at Fort James by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
    12. Renovation and Expansion of Halcyon Hotel
    13. Port Oasis Project at Side Hill
    14. NAMCO acquisition of Jolly Beach Hotel
    15. Best Western Hotel at Jolly Harbour
    16. Marriott Courtyard Airport Hotel
    17. Cedar Valley Golf Course Hotel
    18. Mike Tyson Hotel
    19. Bau Panel/UNOPS Project
    20. The Yida Project
    21. Willoughby Bay Project
    22. Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ)
    23. Brova Idea Pearl Hotel – Partly Underwater Hotel
    24. USD $300 Million Hotel from Investors in Holland
    25. Paradise Found (Barbuda)
    26. Armand Hotel (Barbuda)

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