July 26, 2012, St John’s Antigua – The company hoping to spend about 100 million US dollars to develop Gravenor Bay on Barbuda says government’s request for millions of dollars up front is premature.
Adam Barrett, CEO of Stanhope Shepherd International Limited, says there is far too much to consider before committing millions of dollars:
Cabinet has been asking for five million US dollars in an escrow account before approving the hotel project.
The Barbuda Council has appointed a seven member committee to speak to Cabinet with the aim of reaching an amicable agreement.
Government is making the demand saying that a series of would-be investors have come with promises and have benefited for varying forms of concessions without delivering.
One of the most famous cases was that of Asian businessman Dato Tan Kay Hock, who by only paying a minute fraction of the value, was in 1998 given title to 1,541 of acres of land, including a private island for EC$2,700,000.00. That was after government had the year before acquired the land for ten times that amount – $27,000,000.00. Dato Tan’s project never got going and he later sold the company which owned the land to convicted swindler Allen Stanford.