Barbuda Affairs Minister Arthur Nibbs has rejected the opposition’s claim that he negotiated a bad deal in the Citizen by Investment Programme (CIP) for Barbuda.
Nibbs was responding to statements made by Barbuda Peoples Movement (BPM) Leader Trevor Walker, who said that the Sister Isle will only get 35 per cent of the total revenue generated from the economic citizenship programme.
“I am not aware of that,” Nibbs said. “How does Mr Walker expect 100 per cent when we, as a council, don’t have an investment unit? The unit has to be there to carry out the due diligence so they will be paid; the agents who are promoting the programme will be paid. What I know is that it is much more than we were getting, which was nothing.”
The minister could not say what percentage of the proceeds the Barbuda Council will receive but said processing, marketing and other such fees will have to be deducted.
On Wednesday, Walker told OBSERVER media that the planned CIP for Barbuda was illegal and unconstitutional, but countered that Nibbs said the central government will be responsible for programme.
“What the government is doing is accommodating the council so that we can have a programme, that we can have resources directly for Barbuda, rather than having to come to Antigua week by week and begging. It is nothing illegal,” Nibbs said in an interview.
The MP said the CIP for Barbuda is still a work in progress and there is no set date for its planned launch.
Meantime, Nibbs said Samuel Raphael’s planned multi-million-dollar Mystic Bay project earmarked for Barbuda will likely be delayed due to Tropical Storm Erika’s devastation of Dominica.
Raphael’s property in Dominica, Jungle Bay, was destroyed when heavy rains triggered landslides that swept away buildings, bridges and roads and killed over 30 people just over a week ago.
According to its Facebook page, the eco-resort a favourite among adventure-seeking travellers, featured 35 elevated bungalows. It was built along sustainable guidelines where waste was composted, boasted a farm-to-table menu and the water source was a nearby stream.
The home page of Jungle Bay’s website said that the property is no longer in operation.