Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), is asking questions about the Willoughby Bay Project, which – more than two years after it was announced – still has not gotten off the ground.
In May 2020, the Gaston Browne Administration announced the project, saying it would be a financial boost to the country’s economy at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The venture was tagged the “start of a new city,” utilizing a combination of private and Crown lands, and was expected to include agriculture, residential, office, light industrial and retail development.
It was spearheaded by a public-sector committee led by Ambassador Daven Joseph, who, in August of that year, claimed that a number of local investors had showed interest in the venture.
However, he said, they were concerned about the lack of infrastructure in the 3,000-acre location.
Accordingly, Joseph said the Government was trying to raise capital of EC$100 million for infrastructural development, funded by specialized CIP offerings.
This was to ensure “that the value of the properties and what they are doing would be commensurate with the type of environment that we are putting the project in,” he said, then.
To date, however, not one person – not even a watchman – has been employed on the much-touted project, Lovell says. And he notes that the Browne Administration has had the highest number of stillborn projects and “ground-fakings” in the history of Antigua and Barbuda.
Accordingly, Lovell says, Prime Minister Browne is a failure, and the time has long passed for him and his Labour Party colleagues to go.
The UPP Political Leader is advising Browne to stop the delay tactic of trying to do, now, what he could not get done in eight years.
The people are clamouring for a change, Lovell says, and so the Prime Minister should announce the election date.