UPP fears World Travel Market fallout


The United Progressive Party (UPP) is calling for a return to sane investor relations amidst fears that Gaston Browne’s actions have severely damaged the country’s prospects to attract new investors at the November 6-8 World Travel Market in London.

“The unassailable fact is: Gaston Browne has not created a single new tourism sector job in almost 4 years. How then can he question legitimate concessions granted to facilitate the creation of 700 permanent jobs? How dare a man who has facilitated a grand total of zero new hotel rooms baselessly criticize an arrangement which realized 180 new rooms?” Senator Harold Lovell said.

He adds “How does Gaston Browne sleep at night knowing that he is denying hundreds of Antiguans gainful employment through his continued erosion of the country’s investment climate?”

The UPP says it also wishes to once again condemn Gaston Browne’s pernicious lies and clarify that the ABST concession granted in 2009 to the Sandals Group is 100 percent legal.  It says Section 16 of the Finance Administration Act 2006 gave discretion to the then Minister of Finance, Dr. Errol Cort.

The UPP noted that in the March 2000 Lester Bird of the Antigua Labour Party granted Sandals concessions on two taxes – The Hotel Tax and Guest Levy – to incentivize the construction of the Sandals Grande. After the change of government, in Januarry 2009 ABST was introduced, with the Hotel Tax and Guest Levy being repealed. Thus the ABST concesson was authorised by Dr. Errol Cort to take into account the previous concessions granted under the Lester Bird government. In other words Sandals’ total concession value under the previous Lester Bird agreement would carry forward.

“What is so unreasonable about that, especially to a complete investment procurement failure like Gaston Browne?” Lovell asked.

The Sandals concession was granted in order to ensure the constriction of the Sandals Grand Hotel, the economic impact of which is unquestioned. By contrast Gaston Browne has not secured a single new hotel investment. A 65% ABST discount was granted until the end of 2014; 60% discount until the end of 2022 and thereafter no discount, the UPP continued.

The UPP says it is proud of its record, within a nearly equavalent 1st term timeframe.

Senator Harold Lovell says, “Under my tenure as Tourism Minister, we saw the opening of several hotel properties: The Verandah, Hermitage Bay, Sandals Grande, Sugar Ridge, Lighthouse Bay and the upgrade of many properties such as Blue Waters, Jumby Bay, Curtain Bluff and The Inn at English Harbour. We also saw the construction of 40+ small and medium sized properties and villas as a result of the UPP’s Special Incentives for Local Investors. Where are Gaston Browne’s ghost investments?”

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  1. Make up your mind lovell, bad for the people by giving too much to paradise found or bad for the people by taking back the too much sandals was given. Which is it?
    Not even your government was completely inept as some would suggest. Why all you politicians, ALL, don’t stop lying to people. All off a suddenly after ten years in govt you so concerned about agriculture. Just remember you can’t plant carrot and expect corn. ABLP you on notice too. DNA, looking good except for a few people that getting too personal, stick to the job at hand, we tired hear about who last was in the bathroom why it smell so. You asked for the job, just clean it.

  2. Giving away hundreds of millions of our tax dollars for 180 rooms to a hotel that already enjoys generous tax holidays was just too much, whether it was legal or not. The impression given is that Sandals just put on the table everything they wanted and without serious negotiation you UPP fellows just agreed to everything. Now here comes Gaston, the bull in the China shop, completely ignorant of the far reaching effects of his riotous attack on what was already a bad deal for Antigua, alienating current and future confidence in this nation’s investment climate. So we the people suffer then from a thoughtless giveaway of our tax income, and we suffer now from a foolish destruction of our investment prospects. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE PLEASE SAVE US FROM THE PUNK LEADERSHIP OF THESE 2 IDIOT POLITICAL PARTIES!!!

    • As is often the case,those in distress will ultimately have to save themselves……so look no further than you,the electorate.And please,enough with the Birds.Aren’t there others who
      are willing to serve their community by running for elective office?

  3. Harold need to speak the truth
    We need honest politician. I can’t trust Harold after the Massiah story and how it was handled.If he doesn’t powder and he going on that way then if he gets full powder what he going to do.

  4. Does Lovell not have any friends who can be HONEST with him?? Who is advising him? Dude needs a serious REALITY CHECK. First problem the UPP has, is Lovell as the Leader.

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