Renovation of Deluxe slated to begin shortly; Tabor says UPP still objects to comrade’s ‘bail out’ with taxpayers’ money

Once again, Damani Tabor is criticizing the acquisition of the Deluxe Cinema by the Browne Administration, as moves reportedly are being made for its renovation.

In this week’s Cabinet Notes, the Executive reported that the Deluxe building on High Street will shortly undergo renovations. 

The Government decided to acquire the building back in 2018 amidst objections from several quarters, including the United Progressive Party (UPP), which saw the purchase as the bailout of a Cabinet minister and his family.

However, on December 15, 2020, the Browne Administration passed a parliamentary Resolution to acquire $6 million for the purchase of the building, which would be retrofitted and used as a performing arts centre.

The property was owned by the family of Tourism Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez, who has denied involvement in the sale, saying the building was sold by the Antigua Commercial Bank (now ACB Caribbean). 

The Ministry of Culture should have taken over occupancy of the Deluxe Theater since January 2019.  At that time, it was noted that the Ministry would retain the largest of the three movie theaters for the screening of cultural films and local productions.

The other spaces were expected to be retrofitted to meet other demands, Government Spokesman Lionel “Max ” Hurst said then.

Tabor, the UPP public relations officer, says the Party is still opposed to taxpayers’ money being used to bail out a comrade.