Guest Comment: What do we benefit from YIDA?

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Dear Editor
I have been following with interest your editorials about the Yida development over the last week. You raise some very interesting points which every Antiguan citizen should be extremely concerned about.
If anyone reads the agreement that was signed with Yida by the Prime Minister on behalf of the people of Antigua, they would be very hard pressed to find anything that is of benefit to Antigua.
In particular, if the citizens of Antigua were fully aware of the following points, I think they would be up in arms in protest.
1. Yida and its subsidiaries is under absolutely no obligation whatsoever to employ any Antiguans, either in the construction of the project or any of its subsidiaries, or in the services or industries it will be developing.
2. Any foreign workers they bring into the country at any time will be guaranteed a 5 year work permit within 2 weeks of application.
3. Yida and its subsidiaries have exclusive fishing rights around Guiana Island and the adjacent mainland, no Antiguan fishermen will be allowed to fish there.
4. Yida and its subsidiaries will be given totally tax free status, which means that any services that are created or any products manufactured will be able to be sold back to Antiguans free of any tax. Antiguan manufacturers and service industry personnel will not be able to compete.
5. Yida and its subsidiaries will pay no duty on any goods it imports for any of its businesses, meaning it will be able to make huge profits without any liability to pay tax. (See no.4 above).
And that is without taking into account the disastrous environmental impact of ripping out mangroves and creating artificial beaches.
All the above points beg the question, “what possible benefits is the Yida project bringing to Antigua and Antiguans?”
If there are no benefits for Antiguans one wonders why our Prime Minister signed the deal? What do he and his fellow ministers stand to gain?
Yours sincerely
Carolyn Sharach
Click here to read the Yida License Order.

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