Tabor spanks Browne Administration over departure of WISEZ investor less than a year after agreement was inked

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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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15 COMMENTS

  1. Does Mr Singh still have a rental agreement with Gaston Browne? All of the workers at Seaforth looking for him awaiting payment. We all knew this thing was hog wash when YIDA sued Western Imperial. It was like watching a shoot out between two rival cowboy gangs, unfold in slow motion. The type of movie that you already know how it will end. Bunch of jokers!

    • The Government never sold the land- the land was privately owned for more than 40 years- misleading article

      • @ Slow talker

        Sold/ Lease, what difference does it make when the lease is for some umpteen of years when your grandchildren will still be paying for all the concessions granted by this government.

        I keep repeating myself but you ABLP minions are so hypocritical….u criticise the UPP for offering concessions to Sandals and the concessions you offered WISEZ far exceed what was given to Sandals, yet it is ok with you guys once it is being done by THE WICKED ABLP.

  2. This is getting way past ridiculous. New rule: No future government from any political party shall not enter into any agreement with any investor, shall not borrow any money from any other government or lending agency and shall not invest government funds in any projects unless it is first brought to the nation and clearly ventilated for all to examine and understand. I am so sick and tired of hearing about agreements that were signed and loans that were gotten after the fact.
    Do you people realize the power we give these politicians when we vote them into office. They can literally be burdening future generations with debt while at the same time creatively enriching themselves to secure their own futures while the government coffers are left bare. There needs to be greater checks and balances. This is way past ridiculous.

    • You’re the one that’s ridiculous- the Government granted a license which was paid for- it cost the government nothing but got the fees for the licenses- the investor decides not to use the licenses- What exactly did Gaston do wrong?

      • You tell me how Antiguans were to benefit from this deal? Not even jobs were guaranteed. Only two Antiguans we know would receive $20 thousand a month us and his so $15 thousand a month us. These were no name investors. All confidential why? When you are straight, you don’t deal with crooks. That Indian man done take the money and run. When Gaston went to India, was he trying to find him?

  3. Wait, wasn’t the UPP against this investor? So why now are they upset if it is true that the government has this investor pack up and leave. Shouldn’t you guys be happy? Just when you run Mr. Parker away from the Paradise Found project. Or just when you run Data Tan away from the Guiana Island Project. I mean you guys fight against every investor that the ABLP government brings, and when the project is cancelled, you guys hypocritically pretend to be sad about it. Can’t have it both ways. But as the PM said in the beginning this is a private project and all that the government did was to facilitate by approving a license to operate a Free Trade Zone.

    • @From The Sideline
      Why can’t Antigua attract regular investors that are going to create jobs for Antiguans and pay their fair share of taxes to the country? These free economic zones are nothing but exploiters. What is in these arrangements for the person of Antigua? And they get our passports free to bout.

    • Didn’t ABLP protest against the Beaches Project at Long Bay? Now 8 years later they begging Adam Stewart to do the Beaches at Dickinson Bay and to help save face at Jolly Beach.

  4. Remember most of Gaston’s investor’s are now in jail. Xiao Jianhua, Saab Moran, Peter Virdee,
    Remember WESTON told us that the reputable hotel investors that came to Antigua choose not to invest in Antigua but went to Dominica and Grenada. WHY?

  5. ALP look at what you people bring us to a bag of ediat shame pan all a a u just call de election get de rid da a dem we feed up

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