The United Progressive Party says it is opposed to pronouncements by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, to bypass environment laws and allow Chinese developers YIDA, to construct fake beaches here.
“The Government has already granted YIDA virtual sovereignty within Antigua & Barbuda,” said UPP Political Leader Harold Lovell in a statement this morning.
“Now, the Administration’s outright contempt for the laws put in place to protect our environment and natural resources is an insult to the people of this country,” Lovell added.
The statement says that it is ironic that in a tourism destination renowned for its natural beauty – including 365 beaches – “the Government would put our coastline and delicate ecosystems at risk, especially for the sake of a non-performing investor.”
Prime Minister Browne said this week he will veto restrictions preventing YIDA from constructing beaches on Guiana Island.
UPP called the action “reckless”, which will virtually wipe out the endangered mangroves, and likened the plans to subjecting oneself to dangerous cosmetic surgery when the known risks outweigh the benefits.
“It also shows a lack of respect for local laws and an indifference to the damage and long-term risks this man-made beach will pose to the environment, the fishing industry, and the safety of the nearby communities.”
The UPP now called on the ABLP to demonstrate to the public how this project will fit into the country’s long-term tourism development plans. It also called on Prime Minister Gaston Browne to explain the “unwarranted trust and confidence he continues to put in YIDA, a developer clearly lacking in experience and credibility.”