MP Walker battles it out with Browne on lands leased to Peter Virdee at Gravenor Bay, Barbuda

The Gaston Browne Administration is reportedly trying to resolve with investor Peter Singh Virdee an issue that involves almost 1,000 acres of land on Barbuda.

During the sitting of the Lower House today, May 30, Barbuda MP Trevor Walker asked Prime Minister Browne whether Virdee has a leasehold interest in 990 acres of land at Gravenor Bay that were leased by the Government in 2015.  

In his response, Browne sought to implicate the United Progressive Party, saying the deal was already in place under that Administration and there was no reason not to honour the lease.

Browne claims the Administration is now trying to resolve the leasehold issue and secure a better deal, since the other agreement was not fair to the Government.

Meanwhile, Walker appeared to be refuting Browne’s allegations, asking the Prime Minister to say whether Virdee was a part of the 2013 agreement when the lease was issued to Stanhope Shepherd International.

However, PM Browne doubled down on his response, again blaming the leasehold deal on the UPP.

Browne says that one of the issues with the lease is that its terms were extortionate. He complained that Stanhope Shepherd International was able to lease the land for $100 an acre, which, he says, is totally inappropriate.

He claims his Administration is now trying to put in place a new arrangement in which 10 percent of sale proceeds would go into the coffers of the Government.