Opposition rubbishes argument that Deluxe purchase won’t help Fernandez

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The United Progressive Party (UPP) has rubbished the government of Antigua & Barbuda’s position that its planned purchase of the Deluxe Cinemas property will not benefit its shareholder, Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles “Max” Fernandez.
Far from agreeing with the government’s positon voiced by Minister of Information Melford Nicholas, the UPP’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Damani Tabor has accused the administration of “total nepotism”.
“As for them claiming there’s no benefit to the Fernandez family – if that is so why fixate upon the quantum of his shareholding? The mere fact that there is shareholding mean that any action taken to reduce their indebtedness to the bank is a benefit to them,” Tabor said.
He was responding to Nicholas who, while speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet press conference, said that Fernandez was a “minority shareholder” in the Deluxe Theatre Limited.
Nicholas said that the government was in negotiations with the Antigua Commercial Bank (ACB) to buy the property and not in negotiations with Fernandez or his family members who were known to be shareholders as well.
He added that the business had been in “financial peril for some time”.
“If you have a distressed loan of $200,000 and I bail you out then even though that money will not go into your pocket because its servicing the loan, then what I have done is increased your credit worthiness by liquidating your indebtedness. Of course there is a benefit!” Tabor declared.
“Where is the bailout for all the other businesses that are failing? Why is only one set of people getting that sort of access to the government? We see the same with Leewind Paints and the bailout of Caribbean Union Bank. It is totally nepotistic,” he added.

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