Concerns over stalled work on Guiana Island and allegations that investor Yida does not have any money is being rebuffed by the country’s prime minister.
PM Gaston Browne said the difficulty that the investor is facing is moving money out of China.
Browne said the government has sought to assist Yida is this regard by writing to the Chinese government, but there is yet to be a reply from the Asian nation.
He said Yida, in the first instance, spent nearly US$70 million to acquire the land, which was purchased, not from the government, but from Stanford liquidators.
“We said to the people of Antigua and Barbuda that there is this investor Yida that will be investing in a major project In fact he had pledged to spend up to $3 billion in putting this project together over 10 years. It has not yet gone to the expectation of myself and certainly my colleagues, but it was not a lie, we did not deceive the people.
“My understanding of the problem with Yida is that they are having difficulty moving money out of China. They (Yida) even came to me and I wrote to the Chinese government to find out if they can help them to accelerate those remittances, they have not responded,” Browne said.
According to the prime minister, Yida could have invested another $100 million and added that there are presently a number of properties that have been constructed at the location already.
PM Browne noted that the investor is seeking another source to secure funding to complete the project. He could not say definitively though when the project would materialise.
“He (Yida) has set up a number of buildings, even a concrete plant. What I am told now is that he is seeking to get some money from another source in order to continue the project. But I don’t see how you can say that Yida has no money, when Yida would have spent about US $160 million already,” Browne concluded.