Sir Lester calls for dialogue

Former Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird

Sir Lester Bird, Former Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, has called for the parliamentary representative of Barbuda, Trevor Walker, and investor Robert De Niro, to sit down and come to terms on the way forward for Barbuda.

“I am sure that De Niro is not a person who is not willing to sit down and talk. If you think it’s too much land, then you need to sit down and talk to them. I think Trevor Walker should go back to De Niro because De Niro is one of the most famous actors and he will be able to bring other actors to Barbuda,” Sir Lester said.

He added that during his time in government, there was also contention with the people of Barbuda over the construction of the K Club resort, but that project turned out to be one of the most famous resorts within the twin-island state. He recalled having lunch at the resort with Princess Diana and her sons while he was prime minister.

Sir Lester said that it would be a tragedy if Robert De Niro were to withdraw from the Paradise Found development as his counterpart and financier James Packer has done.

He reminded Barbudans that Antigua and Barbuda is a unitary state and therefore some kind of workable compromise must be reached regarding the development of the island for the betterment of the economy of Antigua and Barbuda.

He also encouraged Barbuda MP Walker to sit down with current prime minister, Gaston Browne, to see if a compromise can be reached that will make both sides happy.

The call for dialogue came 10 days after an injunction application was filed within the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda to have the construction of a new airport brought to a halt pending the outcome of the substantive challenge being pushed by Barbudans John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank. The Barbudans say that proper procedures were not followed and critical requirements were not met by the central government before construction began.

The leave for judicial review is hinged on the alleged failure of multiple departments of government to adhere to the rules and regulations set out in the laws of Antigua and Barbuda. The applicants contend that these  include a failure to conduct an environmental impact assessment, failure to receive the approval of the Barbuda Council for the proposed plans and inadequate submission of proposed plans.

Subsequent to the legal action taken by the Barbudans, Attorney General Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin, has said that the application for an injunction is without merit and has no legal footing.

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