ST. JOHN’S – One day after being sworn in as Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Gaston Browne has inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Chinese investors, Yida International, for an EC$2 billion/US$740 million mixed-use tourism project.
In addition to five five-star hotels, the project will bring 1,300 residential units, a casino, conference centre, 27-hole golf course, marina and landing facilities, as well as commercial, retail and sports facilities. The development is slated for Antigua’s Guiana Island, Crump Peninsula and two smaller islands. All told, the investment is larger even than the Baha Mar development in The Bahamas, which is also Chinese-backed.
The land for the development is to be purchased from liquidators of ex-billionaire Allen Stanford, who is currently serving a 110-year sentence for operating a Ponzi empire.
Speaking at the signing, PM Browne said “I promised the people that my administration would bring the type of investments to the country that will transform Antigua & Barbuda into an economic powerhouse, and I am serious about that promise.”
“This Memorandum of Agreement is the result of our determination to work in the interest of the people of the country,” he added.
Yida International Investment Group, led by Yida Zhang, has holdings which include mining, real estate and health care.
As part of the MOA, the firm will also provide Antigua & Barbuda with a presence in the People’s Republic of China to attract additional, economically viable investments.