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A Chinese firm has shown interest in establishing a new town on Barbuda, the government has announced.
This was revealed on Thursday by government’s chief of staff, Lionel Hurst, in his weekly post-Cabinet statement.
The firm, which was not identified by name, reportedly has expertise in energy and housing and had been invited to brief the Cabinet by the Minister of Works and Housing Eustace “Teco” Lake.
“They proposed to construct a complex of several high-rise apartment buildings that could resist hurricane winds exceeding 200 miles per hour,” the statement read.
The release added that the complex would include a supermarket, cleaners, a drug store, a restaurant, a movie theater, clothing stores, a church, car parks and other kinds of amenities that are common to new complexes.
“The team agreed to return in a week with prices,” and according to the statement, “assured the Cabinet that it could arrange financing that is low cost, and living spaces that would also be within the reach of families with limited means”.
The revelation is yet another indication that the plans for the island are a far cry from what existed prior to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma on September 5. Barbuda Representative and Agriculture Minister, Arthur Nibbs, last week told his regional counterparts that the government planned to establish an agro-industrial complex on a rebuilt Barbuda.
Nibbs painted a picture of a modern agricultural sector that employs sustainable use of the island’s natural resources while luring investors with attractive terms.
But financing this re-imagined Barbuda could put paid to the dreams of the government. According to Nibbs, they plan to adopt “a blended approach” to secure the resources in both cash and in kind from the Barbuda recovery fund, private investors, bilateral assistance from friendly governments, and development partners and donor agencies.
So far the government has secured less than half of a US $50-million target in relief aid from friendly governments and organisations. Reconstruction of Barbuda’s public infrastructure alone has been pegged at upwards of US $200 million.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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