MP safeguarding Barbuda lands

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The elected Member of Parliament for Barbuda Trevor Walker has said he would not support any projects in Barbuda that require the lease or sale of large tracts of land.

“I am not of the view that Barbuda should be alienating any large tracts of land to any one single investor,” Walker said.

“When we say large, I mean, 1,700 acres, 1,000 acres, don’t even come to me with that. I’m not supporting that period,” he added.

The parliamentary representative for Barbuda seemingly made reference to the contentious Gravenor Bay project, which proposed a US $100 million development over nearly 1,000 acres of land.

Walker pointed to an auction notice that appeared in The Daily OBSERVER on Thursday, December 27, 2012, in which appeared a notice of auction for a parcel of land owned by Derek Barrett.

Walker made reference to the specific auction notice that corresponds to Derek Barrett, but did not mention his name.

Derek Barrett is the father of Adam Barrett, who is the CEO of Stanhope International – the company behind the Gravenor Bay project.

However Adam Barrett has previously stressed that Derek Barrett is not in any way associated with Stanhope International or any of the companies in which he is involved.

“It’s the same persons who want to invest and want 1,000 acres of land in Barbuda,” Walker said.

“You can’t give a man 1,000 acres of land and his land is up for public auction next Wednesday,” he added.

The Barbuda MP also suggested that the company claimed to be ready to invest a billion dollars in Barbuda, although he did not specify which currency.

“Your property is being sold by public auction and you want to invest a billion dollars on a thousand acres of land then that sounds like romnesia to me, something not right with that,” said Walker.

“I categorically stand against those propositions and at the end of the day, we have to be held responsible to the people who elected us.”

“The BPM (Barbuda People’s Movement) is completely opposed to this,” he added.

Stanhope Shepherd International Limited has proposed to build a five-star hotel and restaurant, two marinas and 18-hole golf course that it said would bring US $100 million into Barbuda’s economy.

Last month, Barbuda Council’s Deputy Chairman Fabian Jones stated the Gravenor Bay project was put “off the table” because the developers could not meet requirements set by the central government to demonstrate their financial ability to carry out the project.

However the developer of the proposed Gravenor Bay project in Barbuda later responded that he remains hopeful that the project is not completely lost.

“Our current position is, we have the approval of the (Barbuda) Council and the people of Barbuda have given their consent for this project. Now we patiently await the outcome of their negotiations with Central Government,” Adam Barrett said.

However Walker said he was firm in his position.

“The persons who come to you and have money to spend don’t have a lot of time to waste and the persons who have a lot of time don’t have no money,” he said.

“If you come to me and you want to invest monies and you want 1,000 acres of land and you are going to invest a billion dollars … you must have some credibility,” he added.

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