Barbudans, at Tuesday night’s village meeting, voted overwhelmingly against an extension of the lease and an additional 60 acres of land to Palmetto Point Developers for development of the Beach House property.
Community activist John Mussington described the mood of the more that 50 present as a no-nonsense one. He said they raised a number of points against both proposals.
Among the issues raised were that the developers have no track record in Barbuda. Also, following an examination of other developments in Antigua and other Caribbean islands Barbudans felt development of the Beach House Property did not warrant the amount of land requested. It was pointed out that other investors, for example, Haylandale had gotten large tracts of land which has remained undeveloped.
“Senator Frank revealed a court document where Haylandale, another investment sitting on 175 acres of land since 2005 … nothing was done and yet there is a court document filed suing the government,” Mussington told The Daily OBSERVER yesterday.
He said K-Club also occupies approximately 200 acres of land for which it pays a meagre $35,000 per year for the lease.
He noted that the consensus was these past mistakes should be a lesson to Barbudans.
“Let them (developers) come and prove themselves and this free-for-all in getting huge tracts of land should be stopped,” Mussington said.
Meanwhile, Antigua Labour Party representative on Barbuda Council Senator Arthur Nibbs is displeased with the decision made at the village meeting.
“I think the meeting last night was bad – bad for Barbuda and bad for the economy that the Beach House project was not given the green light,” Nibbs said.
He explained that the investors were interested in more than just developing the Beach House, since they would not be able to realise a decent return on their investments.
He intimated that since they did not get the extension of the lease and additional land, the project would not proceed.
“So the fact that they are not going forward with the additional land, you actually can say the project is not going forward,” Nibbs said.
According to the senator, there is no opportunity for young people to find jobs except with the council and because of the economic downturn people do not know when they are going to be paid.
Nibbs blamed the Barbuda People’s Movement for being anti-development and predicted that Barbudans will forever be looking to Central Government for subsidies.