Minister wants Cabinet subcommittee to pressure developers of overdue projects in 2017

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Minister of Tourism Asot Michael has requested that a subcommittee of Cabinet be appointed to engage the developers of the numerous hotel developments which have yet to begin construction and pressure them to do so in 2017.
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Michael made the request directly to the Prime Minister Gaston Browne, arguing that for many developers, hurdles such as Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) had been overcome.
“It’s time for them to get up and move all of them – We’re putting them on notice, Royal Antigua, Yida, Sunwing, Replay with Half Moon Bay – this must be the year of action,” Michael declared.
Speaking to Browne he said, “If you give me the authority, I want you to setup a Cabinet committee among us. We will call them and get an update. What are the hiccups? Where are we going? They can’t blame the environment anymore because they passed all the tests now.”
Michael revealed that representatives of a new hotel group, Couples Resorts would be meeting with the prime minister around February 7 or February 8, along with representatives of the Issa Nicholas Group, which owns the dilapidated Royal Antiguan hotel.
“[Issa Nicholas] is bringing the Couples Resort here. He has all the concessions. He has committed to restore the Royal Antiguan and to spend US $12 million to US $13 million on it.  If not, we have no choice but to compulsorily acquire it. But we’re not going to give them another year,” the minister declared.
Some of the projects being pursued are the Royalton Antigua Hotel & Resort at Deep Bay Beach by the Sunwing Travel Group and Blue Diamond Hotels and Resorts, a new hotel project at Half Moon Bay by Replay Resorts and a hotel by the Yida International Group at its site on Antigua’s northern coast.
Others include the US $250 million hotel development on Barbuda by John Turbidy and John Paul DeJoria’s group Peace Love and Happiness, in addition to the much- touted US $250 million Paradise Found project on Barbuda.

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