Prime Minister Gaston Browne has made a call for wealthy Antiguans to invest in a new tourism project, which will see the development of a hotel and residences on a seaside property in Bethesda.
The individual residences would cost an estimated EC$540,000.
Government has already invited an architect to develop the concept for the project, which the prime minister said could be similar to Jumby Bay.
The land for development, which is an area just around the Eric Clapton Centre, had been previously made available to a private investor who had failed to perform.
“He was going to use the land for agriculture purposes and we have asked him to make it available to the government so that we can develop it,” Prime Minister Browne said.
“We think that we can put some high-end residences there as well, plus a marina, a boutique hotel and a number of private residences, which we want Antiguans and Barbudans to invest in.
“They can sell those properties under the CIP (Citizenship by Investment programme) for probably twice the amount, making a profit,” Browne added.
The prime minister made it clear that government will not be selling or leasing lands to Antiguans to speculate with.
“What we’re doing here is we’re targeting the wealthiest among us to invest in properties so that they can generate work for our people,” he said.
“We’re targeting the [wealthy] people in Antigua and Barbuda to put up maybe a half a million to a million dollars a piece, and for us to build out this tourism project, to create jobs, put people to work and at the same time to have a beautiful tourism project by next year when there’s an increase in tourism trade.”
The prime minister said the expectation is that within the next few years, Antigua and Barbuda will be back to normal, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s no doubt that there’s going to be a significant increase in tourism, so what we have to do now is prepare ourselves for that increase in tourism trade and having more properties and better properties than what exists now is very important. What we are trying to do as well is to ensure that we increase the ownership stake of the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Browne said.
“This is a great opportunity for an Antiguan to literally be a physical owner of a piece of real estate within a hotel property.
“I even said to my colleagues, and they’ve agreed, that the government itself would even give a guarantee for maybe 50 per cent of the risk. So for example, if you’re investing a half a million dollars, we’ll say to you that if anything goes wrong with this project and you end up losing, let’s say, $250,000, that’s half of the amount that you invested, the government will take it up,” the prime minister assured.
(This article was written by 268 TODAY journalists)