Barbuda Airport on hold

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The Minister of Barbuda Affairs, Arthur Nibbs has revealed that construction on the proposed new airport in Barbuda has been placed on hold pending approval from the relevant authorities.
Nibbs, the Barbuda MP, along with Tourism & Investment Minister Asot Michael, Culture Minister EP Chet Greene, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and then Barbuda Council Chairman David Shaw held a groundbreaking for the airport in Barbuda in the middle of March.
“With respect to the airport we are awaiting the approval from the Directorate of Civil Aviation because you can’t just go in there and start to build an airport,” Nibbs said.
“All the specifications, everything has to be approved by Civil Aviation before we can proceed so we cannot proceed any further with the construction of the airport. The funds are in place, we have actually started the site clearing but we are going to hold off on that until we get the plans approved.”
Meanwhile, Information Minister Melford Nicholas revealed that the airport may not go through the tendering process.
“The process in Barbuda is still not yet complete; no contract has yet been awarded in respect of Barbuda. I think one of the potential developers that came forward indicated that they could not only construct the facility but they could bring financing which made them rather attractive because it brought the possibility of an immediate start to the facilities to the table,” Nicholas said.
He explained that should the negotiations conclude favourably, the tender process will be waived.
“To that extent, when that process is complete and we are satisfied that it creates the opportunity for [it to] start, then it may well be that we would consider asking within the tendering process for a waiver of tender, given that particular type of circumstance,” he said.
The minister said the tender process is typically waived when the financing of the project limits the options of contractors that can be chosen.
“When the airport (in Antigua) was being constructed, the funds to construct the airport came from the Chinese and they limited or funnelled you into a particular direction where you had very limited options in terms of who the contractor would be,” explained Nicholas.
Meanwhile, Nibbs said the drawings for the multi-million-dollar Paradise Found and Peace, Love and Happiness hotel projects in Barbuda are before the Development Control Authority (DCA) awaiting approval. Nibbs added that road construction which had begun on the sister isle shortly before the March 27 Barbuda Council elections is continuing in Barbuda.
“There is roadworks going on. We are doing a concrete road stretching from the river dock up into the village and now inside of the village there is a popular square called Madison square and we have dressed up all the roads leading into Madison Square,” Nibbs said, adding that work is also continuing on the unfinished Justice Complex in Codrington.
 

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