Finance and Economy Minister Harold Lovell says the proposed US $100 million hotel development at Long Bay will be accompanied by an improvement of public facilities in the area should it receive the go ahead.
The minister’s assurances came after he persuaded aggrieved vendors who operate on the beach to suspend demonstrations on the matter indefinitely.
“I want to know why it is such a big deal now that we are trying to create employment and still preserve public access and I would say adequate public access and not only that, to take the development up there and the public access to a new level,” Lovell said.
The minister said he is in negotiations with a private landowner to acquire seventh-eights of an acre to increase the public access and improve facilities on the popular beach.
“Where are the public toilets right now? There are none. Where is the children’s playground? There is none. Where do people park? People have to ‘kotch’ up under a little tree here and there. We are talking about expanding, modernising, making it better,” Lovell added.
He defended the project saying it’s a win-win situation for the investor Gordon “Butch” Stewart and Antigua & Barbuda. He said negotiations with Stewart need to be approached positively if a beneficial solution is to be agreed upon.
“I am not saying by any means necessary. I am saying by win- win, we want win-win. Negotiate so we win and the developer wins. Let’s get something sensible; let’s put our heads together and let us make sure we don’t just go there in a confrontational manner and win-lose, let’s go for win-win,” Lovell said.
On Friday, vendors operating at Long Bay put a two-day protest on hold until further notice after meeting with Lovell on the matter.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)