URGENT: Yida developers speak out on gun factory deal

Yida Zhang with Prime Minister Gaston Browne at the groubd breaking of the YIDA project (file photo)




I am painfully aware that a public discussion regarding one of the first six planned assembly plants, scheduled to be constructed in the Special Economic Zone authorized by law, for the Yida Zhang project, has generated unwanted negative fall-out.

The YIDA Group was approached by an Italian firm to provide sport tourism and an assembly plant to assemble competition style rifles, handguns and other sport shooting paraphernalia intended for the sporting market, especially in Europe and South America.

Also proposed was Antigua being a tournament venue to attract thousands of spectators to our shores. The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda, meeting on Saturday, November 19, 2016, was presented with several prospects, including the erection of buildings to accommodate a clothing factory, a call center, a furniture factory, and the firearms assembly plant.

The Cabinet did not provide an affirmative response to the firearms assembly plant request at the end of that November 2016 meeting, because there were clearly objections to it.

The YIDA Group left that Cabinet Meeting believing that if it provided similar legislation and more information on the assembly plant regarding international standards and security measures the Cabinet would give it a second hearing.

The YIDA Group prefers not to cause any consternation or negative public fallout. We aim to be good corporate citizens. Our intention is to provide the people of Antigua and Barbuda with sustainable employment opportunities during and after construction of the Special Economic Zone.

The YIDA Group regrets the negative fallout from this proposal. It accepts that the planned assembly plant will not be going forward.

YIDA ZHANG May 17, 2017

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