Administration’s desperate measure to acquire funds from superyacht sale brings 2023 Budget Presentation into question

The United Progressive Party (UPP) is concerned about the
Cabinet’s decision to rush through the sale of the Alfa Nero and
assume responsibility for any further legal challenges on behalf of
the buyer.

Last Wednesday, July 5, an apparently despairing Cabinet agreed
that Antigua and Barbuda would indemnify the still-prospective
owner, billionaire Eric Schmidt, thus assuming all future legal
liabilities associated with the sale.

Schmidt, a former Google CEO and software engineer, offered the
highest bid – US$67.6 million – when the vessel was auctioned
on Friday, June 16, although he has not yet made payment to the
Treasury Department.

Party Chairman D.Gisele Isaac says she is very troubled by this
unilateral decision of the Executive. She says that local taxpayers –
most of whom are struggling financially – should not have to take on
court challenges that could add up to millions of dollars to spare a

Accordingly, the UPP chairman wants to know what has become of
the revenues projected as recently as February 2023 during the
presentation of the Appropriations Bill.

Isaac says the Party is very concerned about the country’s financial
health, given the Browne Administration’s desperation for the
proceeds of the Alfa Nero sale – as if this is the Government’s only
source of funds.

In the meantime, she suggests that Schmidt might be better off
commissioning a yacht instead of getting tied up in this protracted

The deadline for Schmidt’s payment has longed passed, since
Tuesday, June 27, made seven working days after his successful bid
in the auction.