UPP protests GPH agreement, calls for gov’t to scrap deal

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Leaders of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) and approximately 60 of their supporters staged a protest yesterday against the agreement that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda entered into recently with international cruise port developers, Global Ports Holding LLC.
The protesters assembled early Thursday morning at Heritage Quay to show their dissatisfaction with what the party termed a deal that amounted to a “massive sellout” by the Gaston Browne administration.
Former Prime Minister and former political leader of the UPP, Baldwin Spencer, said this agreement is not in the interest of Antigua and Barbuda and called on the government to scrap it.
“We are drawing attention to the massive sellout of Antigua and Barbuda by this government over the GPH agreement and we are making a statement that this agreement must be scrapped,” Spencer said.
He said he did not understand why the government would ever sign the agreement in the first place.
“In fact, it strikes at the very heart of what we have been seeking to do, which is to empower our people and to change this idea that we have to give everything away every time we want to develop [the country],” he said.
OBSERVER media also spoke to the Leader of the Opposition and the UPP’s Deputy Political Leader, Jamal Pringle, who said that the number of people at the protest was representative of the level of discontent that the public has with the Global Ports Agreement.
“It goes to show that there is a lot people against what is happening and are willing to stand up to the government and protest against [the agreement],” Pringle said.
According to reliable sources, taxi drivers, store owners, tourists, and employees of the St. John’s Development Corporation (SJDC) also joined in the protest.
Since the announcement of the US $83 million agreement with the London-based Global Ports Holding LLC to hand-over the St. John’s cruise facility – exclusive of Heritage Hotel, Newport Holdings, Downtown Development and the Vendors Mall – opposition leaders have been quick to criticize the agreement.

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