Opposition rejects chicken farm agreement

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Senator, Paul “Chet” Green, said government will force local producers out of businesses if it agrees to terms proposed by poultry investors, who want to establish a multimillion dollar project here.

Green reading from a document in Parliament yesterday, detailed some of the provisions being laid down by investors, and warned that if investors have their way, the local poultry businesses will be wiped out.

“The importation of live birds or bird eggs for hatching other than those imported by Ciboney must be discontinued once construction of the project commences, that means Madame President, a wipe out of the locals who are involved in this area of endeavour,” Greene said.

“Once they start the construction, mark you, not operations, just construction, all Antiguans and Barbudans who make a living and contributions to this country will have to discontinue the importation of live birds and bird eggs for hatching,” he added.

Greene said the backers of the proposed US $75 million poultry farm are also demanding a complete halt of poultry production on island.

“They are asking that for the purpose of bio security that other than for personal consumption all poultry production on the island will cease production after their current cycle ends,” Greene said.

“If you have any doubt about the intention of wiping out local businesses, they strengthen it, embellish it, and reconfirm it in this clause and this, Madame President, is the golden project to save the economy and people of this country,” he added.

Greene claims the project is meant to encompass over 1,000 acres of land, including 25 acres of beach-front land.

The opposition senator added that while some of the proposals by the investors are expected, others are over the top.

Among the demands Greene listed are 75 per cent property tax reductions, as well as the right for investors to expatriate all their profits.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate Dr Errol Cort did not deny the conditions have been proposed, but said government is yet to make any final agreement with the investors.

Government last year failed live up to a promise to break ground for the multi-million dollar poultry investment before the end of 2012.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)