Tourism Minister accuses Dundas of misleading the public

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Government officials continue to criticize Nathan Dundas, the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association, accusing him of “misleading the public”.
During the Cabinet press briefing yesterday, Minister of Tourism Charles “Max” Fernandez said Dundas was misrepresenting the facts of the Global Ports Holding (GPH) agreement.
Fernandez reiterated that Dundas was aware of the negotiations between the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and the government of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Mr. Dundas is also aware that [the FCCA] came to Antigua on numerous occasions and complained about our [tourism] product. Only when we improve our product, then they would consider carrying up the increase in passenger head tax, but no guarantees,” he said.
He also noted that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and Global Port Holdings have consulted with major stakeholders, contradicting claims made by Dundas.
“Global Ports Holding asked to meet with the leading representative of the cruise lines in Antigua and one of the leading tour operators to get some feeling of what was going on,” he said.
The minister said a meeting had been arranged with the Executive Director of Tropical Adventure and Bryson’s Shipping, Patrick Ryan, and the co-director of Rendezvous Tours, Neil Keeling, to whom Global Ports’ officials presented an outline of their proposal.
Fernandez said that most, if not all, cruise lines had been aware that the government was negotiating with GPH.
“[Carnival] Cruise Lines – one of the cruise lines Dundas represents – called us when they heard we were signing and said that they would like to make an offer to provide financing to expand the cruise port. We suspended negotiations with GPH until we met with Carnival,” he said adding that Carnival Cruise Lines could not match the investment value of GPH.

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