Month: May, 2015

Opening Ceremony Barbuda Belle Luxury Resort Cedar Tree Point, Barbuda

asot michhael caricom1 Honourable Asot Michael

Minister of Tourism, Economic Development & Energy
Government of Antigua and Barbuda
Opening Ceremony Barbuda Belle Luxury Resort

Cedar Tree Point, Barbuda
Saturday May 30, 2015
Hon Gaston Browne: Prime Minster of Antigua and Barbuda
Hon Arthur Nibbs: Minster of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries, Barbuda Affairs, and
parliamentary representative for Barbuda
Senators the Hon. Adrien Lee and Hon. Shenique Fortune
Members of the Barbuda Council
Dr. Francois and Mrs. Barbara Petit, of Barbuda Belle
Other Government and Barbuda Council officials
Distinguished guests
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen.
A pleasant good afternoon to you all.
Today marks a very important step in Barbuda’s development.
This opening of the Barbuda Belle Luxury Beach Hotel is historic as it is the first time in over ten years that a new hotel has opened on the sister isle. This represents a vote of confidence in not just the Barbuda council and your parliamentary representative the Hon. Arthur Nibbs,but an expression of confidence in my Government’s management of the economy, this new project is indeed a welcome addition to our tourism product.Who would have thought that the initial stopover visit of a distinguished surgeon to Barbuda in 1991 while going to a fishing tournament in Antigua, would have resulted in what we are celebrating today. Who could have imagined that a casual discussion in June 2013 with Mr. Elvis Burton would have led to the unanimous endorsment by the Barbuda Council for a US$2 million Investment, which provided up to 25 jobs during the construction phase and will now provide 10-12 much needed new jobs right now and up to 25 during the upcoming winter season. It only goes to show that opportunities for investment and country development are readily available to those who seize the initiative and act decisively upon them. As the first green field project to open post the 2014 elections,Barbuda Belle Luxury Beach Hotel with its 7 units at Cedar Point will always be remembered by the people of Barbuda, as being the beginning of what will be the future under an Antigua and Barbuda Labour Government; it is the beginning of realization of the vision to become the fastest growing economy within the Americas.
I believe I can speak for everyone here today by saying that as we arrived at Cedar Point we were blown away and captivated by the beauty of the area. The tranquility and spectacular scenery is a great change of pace from Antigua and strikes the perfect balance. We are truly two very unique islands but one great destination!
Cedar Point stands out as a very special place in Antigua and Barbuda. With its breathtaking beach adjacent to pristine mangroves, you could not have selected a more enchanting location for this type of eco friendly development, which has all the ingredients for a relaxing vacation.
In fact Barbuda Belle Luxury Beach Hotel as seen today has answered those who were critical of this project as there has been absolutely no negative impact on the habitat of our national bird. The largest colony of magnificent Frigate Birds in the western hemisphere peacefully coexists a few minutes away from this remarkable luxury hotel. This oasis of the Caribbean, which is Barbuda Belle, is destined to become the latest jewel in the eco-tourism crown of our beautiful country.
To the investors and owners of Barbuda Belle Dr. Francois and Mrs. Barbara Petit, I extend our congratulations to you in moving forward with this project, in spite of the many obstacles that you faced. Based on our experience, we are fully aware that investors have an almost unlimited opportunity for success when it comes to the placement of their investments. You would not have persevered if you did not believe that your confidence in the Government of Antigua and Barbuda was well placed. True to your calling as a surgeon you have successfully completed the operation and the patient is alive and well!
I understand that plans have already been formulated to expand the hotel by an additional 15 units, with 5 units added each year for the next three years. We are delighted at your vote of confidence in making this decision to continue and more importantly to expand.
When we look at the ascetics of this development, and the efforts that you have made to be environmentally friendly with sustainability as a key focus, you are to be commended and applauded for your efforts.
I understand your choice of material for the construction was made during a trip to Bali, Indonesia, to ensure that you were as eco friendly as possible. However we are particularly delighted that you did so while still maintaining the integrity of the Caribbean style colonial architecture.
The design of Barbuda Belle to be “Green” from the way the resort generates renewable solar energy to your water conservation and management is a shining example of true tourism sustainability. I predict that this resort will be a benchmark for others to follow. The efforts made in this area are in direct alignment with my Ministry’s vision for “The Green Barbuda Renewable Energy Project”, which aims to have 70% to 75% of Barbuda’s electric energy generated by Green solar Power.

Barbuda Belle is therefore playing its part to greatly reduce the current fossil fuel based energy consumption on the island of Barbuda.
As new projects like Barbuda Belle get underway, the commitment that the Government gives is that we will be doing everything in our power to ensure that that the transportation links are in place to move international visitors quickly and efficiently between our two islands.
The Government is fully aware that the success of hotels on the sister island will be directly dependent on the availability of reliable air service between both our islands.
This airlift will ensure the success of not just this project but the host of other first class eco friendly development projects destined for Barbuda.
This new hotel means new opportunities available to all Barbudans for increased jobs, and much more business activities and closer collaboration. The end result will be greater economic growth, but more importantly even closer partnership between the Barbuda Council and the Central Government.
The clear message that I bring today is that our country is one nation! Barbuda’s success is Antigua’s success and Antigua’s success ultimately means that Barbuda too succeeds and grows.
Since assuming office the new ABLP administration has made a tangible commitment at the Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority to ensure this oneness of purpose, with the integration of the Barbuda tourism team in all our plans and tourism activities.
In the area of cruise tourism, we have embarked upon a strategy to promote Barbuda to the high-end luxury cruise lines. These lines operate smaller ships and are particularly attracted to island like Barbuda.
In fact the lack of a commercial cruise pier is not a disadvantage, as the concept of tendering their passengers ashore for a beach day on a “Robinson Crusoe” type island with some of the most spectacular beaches in the world is a compelling proposition for their wealthy passenger.
Our efforts in this area have now reaped dividends and for the first time we have a record of 12 cruise ships calls that visited Barbuda for this year!
The ABLP Government has been working and delivering!
This is a niche market for Barbuda within the cruise sector where we will see much success as we go forward together.
Ladies and Gentlemen we are fully committed to moving forward as one team, and absolutely focused on ushering in a new phase of unparalleled growth in tourism for our beloved country. What we are celebrating today in the grand opening of the Barbuda Bell Luxury Beach is a promise made by the new Gaston Browne administration to the people of Barbuda and a promise kept!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Honorable Prime Minister.
Thank you.


Tourism Stakeholders Meet to Discuss Improvements in Ground Transportation and Transfers

May 20, 2015…St. John’s, Antigua…After two days of meetings and discussions between multi-stakeholder groups to include Taxi Associations, Tour Operators Hoteliers, Transport Board, Antigua and Barbuda Airports Authority, Royal Police Force and Ministry of Tourism Officials: there is a meeting of the minds to improve the “ Visitor Experience” in ground transportation. The Ministers of Public Utilities Aviation and Transportation Honourable Robin Yearwood and Tourism Economic Development Investment and Energy Honourable Asot Michael also participated in the discussions.
Minister of Tourism Honourable Asot Michael made it clear that “Tourism is and will remain the key economic driver for Antigua and Barbuda and the “visitor experience is paramount. Working collectively can only bring all those involved to achieve the one common goal of providing the best tourism product across the region”.
Issues discussed were Established Routes, Standards, Legislation and Training to improve the sector.

High Powered Ground Transportation Meeting
Minister of Public Utilities Aviation and Transportation Honourable Robin Yearwood applauded the contribution made by Taxi Association Executives in ensuring that the sector is regulated to manage illegal operators, and their members pay more attention to safety and security.
Tourism Consultant Shirlene Nibbs reminded the stakeholders of the Strategic Direction of the destination and the need for all service providers to deliver a “quality visitor experience” that is aligned to the middle to luxury guest we are actively attracting. . “If we want the industry to grow make the economic contribution to its true potential everyone has to play their part,” Nibbs reiterated.
Coming out of the meeting as well is the commitment of stakeholders to review the draft legislation presented by Mr. St. Claire Soleyn that addresses having classification and licensing of selected tourism enterprises.
Also in attendance was Mr. Don Smith VP of Guest Transportation and Airport Operations who made invaluable contributions to the discussions.

MEDIA STATEMENT-“The Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union are being misguided”

UntitledThe Government of Antigua and Barbuda has been reliably informed that the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union is encouraging staff members of commercial banks in Antigua to carry out industrial action, on Monday morning 11th May 2015. The employees of eight banks have been encouraged by the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union—whose General Secretary has been clearly misleading them—to stay away from their workplace on Monday morning. The planned protest action is based on a deliberate misreading of the definition of “officer” in the recently passed “Banking Act 2015”. The definition of “officer” within the new law is limited to the President, the Vice President, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Accountant, the Chief Auditor, the Chief Investment Officer, the Chief Compliance Officer, or the Chief Risk Officer of the commercial banks. Staff members of commercial banks who do not hold any of these positions do not fall within the definition; therefore, those staff members need not fear any provision in the law. Clearly, the law seeks to prevent “Officers” in banks from using staff members as their surrogates to undertake actions that usually fall within the job descriptions of those officers. A staff member in a commercial bank who performs daily routines does not fall within the net of “officers”, whose actions and decisions are intended to be captured by the Banking Act 2015. The ABWU General Secretary has also been intentionally lending an inaccurate misreading to the adjusted language involving the severance pay to which workers are entitled. The Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda added the words “severance pay” to the uniform act, thereby making clear that workers in banks will receive the full severance to which they are entitled, should a bank be liquidated. It is worthy to note that under the 2005 Banking Act, adopted by the UPP administration, no reference or promise was made in Section 55(1)(b) to severance pay for workers. The UPP adopted the law on September 13, 2005, and no arrangements were made in that law to pay bank workers their severance pay in the event of liquidation. The attempt to mislead bank workers into thinking that they are at risk of being unfairly targeted is a deliberate political ploy. The intentional misreading of the draft 2015 uniform law, in which reference is now made to “severance pay”, is nothing but a cheap political ploy using bank workers as pawns. Any industrial action based on these false premises can only harm and injure these same workers, their families, the economy and the Antigua and Barbuda nation. The uniform law, to be adopted by the eight countries of the East Caribbean Currency Union, is intended to make bank deposits by the vast majority of customers safer. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda condemns any planned industrial action that is based on deliberately false information. Such industrial action will unfairly and unjustly harm innocent depositors, businesses and the economy of the country. Staff members of the eight commercial banks are encouraged to reject any effort to make them pawns in a political game and to go to their jobs on Monday morning, as usual.

Antigua Barbuda Workers’ Union Invitation to Protest Action by Bank Staff

ABWU Invitation to Protest Action by Bank Staffs

Antigua wants to become a mecca for yachting in Caribbean” says Asot Michael


Yida International Antigua Sailing Week 2015 Final Awards – Sleeper By A Wisker

Jonty Layfield and his jubilant crew on Sleeper/U-Go celebrate their overall win at Antigua Sailing Week – Holders of the Lord Nelson Trophy 2015 © Paul Wyeth

Jonty Layfield and his jubilant crew on Sleeper/U-Go celebrate their overall win at Antigua Sailing Week – Holders of the Lord Nelson Trophy 2015 © Paul Wyeth

The Awards Ceremony for the 48th edition of Antigua Sailing Week was held in Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour. The glittering prize giving was attended by His Excellency the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams, Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy and Kenneth Kwok, Vice President of Yida International Investment Group, Antigua Sailing Week sponsors. Thousands of people applauded each winner as they took to the stage and then danced the night away to Antiguan band Itchy Feet, featuring the sultry vocals of lead singer Asher Otto. DJ Purist kept the party buzzing well into the night.

 For More Pictures click:

Jonty Layfield’s CS40, Sleeper/U-Go scored eight straight race wins to win CSA 8, the Best Antiguan and Caribbean Boat in Start Boat B and the prestigious Lord Nelson Trophy. Jonty Layfield spoke on the stage having been presented with Antigua Sailing Week’s top award.

“I just don’t believe it, I am astonished. We borrowed a boat that we had never sailed and put together a crew of family a friends, including children, and we have won the biggest prize of all. I am totally speechless, except to say a big thank you to Kathy Lammers and Sir Hugh Bailey and all of the team who make Antigua Sailing Week such a well run and enjoyable regatta.”
Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster crewed by the Guernsey Yacht Club was the winner of CSA Racing 5 with eight straight wins. Scarlet Oyster was also the Best British Yacht and the Best Race Charter Yacht at Antigua Sailing Week and won the inaugural Royal Southern Yacht Club Inter-Yacht Club Challenge.

“Ten years ago, Tim Thubron and I were on a yacht that had the best score of any yacht, but we were told the Lord Nelson Trophy went to the big boat class. So we are naturally disappointed but very happy for Jonty and his crew for their success. Scarlet Oyster was in a very competitive class and all you can do is aim to win your class and we have done that with a perfect score, even though we won two races by just a couple of seconds – we couldn’t have done any better,” commented Applebey.

Bernie Evan-Wong’s Antiguan RP37 TAZ was the winner in CSA Racing 4 and the Best Caribbean and Antiguan Boat in Start Boat A: “TAZ needs to be sailed really well to get the best out of the boat and this week we have learned so much more about unlocking the pace in the boat. When I look back at the ability of my team a few years ago, we have improved tremendously and Antigua Sailing Week has been a big part of that improvement.”

“Hartmut Holtmann has brought more sailors to Antigua than Lord Nelson”, joked MC, Tommy Paterson. In truth Harmut’s company KH+P yachtcharter has been bringing bareboat teams to Antigua for the last 25 years: “Everyone is safe ashore after an excellent regatta which is always satisfying. Looking to the future in 2017, it will be the 50th Antigua Sailing Week and we hope to have brought 500 yachts to the regatta by then.”

The overall winner of the Bareboat Division and Bareboat 1 was Martin Sager’s KH+P Cayenne winning the Sunsail Trophy and a US $2,500 voucher from Sunsail for a future Antigua Sailing Week charter.  Alice Martin’s Team Painkiller was the winner of Bareboat 1 and Christoph Nielsen’s Tintamarre was the winner of Bareboat 3 and the Best German Yacht.

For full results go to:

Tintamarre was the winner of Bareboat 3 and the Best German Yacht.

Pictures of final awards ceremony of antigua sailing week 2015

YIDA breaks ground! PM chides fundamentalists

gaston browne

Government is giving an enthusiastic welcome to the sod-turning exercises that marked the start of work on the US $2 billion dollars in- vestment project by the YIDA International Group.In monumental ceremonies, both on mainland Antigua and on Guiana Island, representatives of YIDA International Investment Group, senior government officials, and distinguished persons participated in the exercises. In monumental ceremonies, both on mainland Antigua and on Guiana Island, representatives of YIDA International Investment Group, senior government officials, and distinguished persons participated in the exercises. The  primary site for the ceremony was at Barnacle Point.

There the government and the YIDA Group officials ad- dressed the audience. The project will be the first of its kind in Antigua, involving high-end tourism facilities. There will be the establishment of the Antigua Special Economic Zone.

Governor General, His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams welcomed the major transformational investment into the country by the YIDA Group, seeing the income and inputs as significant boosts for the country’s economy.

Prime Minister. Hon Gaston Browne, aptly described the investment to be transfor- mational, stating that it will help to realise the Govern- ment’s dream of making Antigua and Barbuda become an economic powerhouse.

But it was the voices raised in opposition to the project over their environmental concerns, that the Prime Minister gave rational and pragmatic explanation.
PM Browne said he will not allow minority groups or fundamentalists to dictate for the majority of the people. He explained that he is all for listening to the concerns of groups in the society, but in the end, the decision rests with his government.
The Prime Minister called on those opposing the project based on ‘misguided’ or even real environmental concerns, to be balanced in their approach. He said that both the government and the developers will seek to implement the project sensibly and responsibly.

YIDA International ground-breaking, the ABLP wagon keeps moving on


The Honourable Asot Michael, Minister of Tourism, Investments, Economic Development and Energy in the Government of Antigua and Barbuda gave a speech high- lighting the event on the YIDA International ground-breaking ceremony of the Guiana Island project at Barnacle Point.
e investments, more jobs and low- er taxes had been the mantra of the Antigua and Barbuda labour Party throughout the election campaign in the months prior, and the leaders of the Party meant every word of it. We knew that months would pass between signing a Memorandum of Understanding and having a backhoe dig the first foundation. We had no time to spend dilly-dallying. Time is of the essence.

It was China’s great philosopher, Con- fucius that said, “In a country well gov- erned, poverty is something to be ashamed of”. It is with Confucius’ great wisdom in mind and our great pride in our coun- try’s advancing policies to develop through broad partnerships a wealthy, creative and progressive nation that I address you as part of this Groundbreaking Ceremony for Yida International Investment Group’s Antigua Special Economic Zone.

I am confident that The Antigua Special Economic Zone will become an engine for economic growth and will strengthen link- ages in our local service economy. This is development at the national level, and the country and the Zone shall work together to ensure that benefits reach every local business, every family and every child in

Antigua and Barbuda because our govern- ment adheres to Confucius’ philosophy so, “this is a country well governed”.

The plans revealed by the YIDA Group to turn an under-utilized piece of valuable real estate into a venue for generating thousands of jobs, does not involve harm to the eco-environment. I congratulate the YIDA Group for taking into account the high regard which this administration displays for both the environment and job-creation.

The Guiana Island project will enlarge the number of hotel rooms, but it will be much more than a hotel.

Making Antigua a hub for the YIDA Group’s strategy of growing its investments in the Americas, will mean more office space, more cargo and traffic, more jobs for our youth, and more economic activity following years of economic decline.
The Antigua Special Eco- nomic Zone is designed to provide fiscal incentives to facilitate the business operations of investors within designated areas. It will foster Antigua and Barbuda’s national economic development and lead to pros- perity and improvement of people’s living standards, inside and outside of the Zone. Simplicity, speed and smooth trans- actions are important aspects that many investors consider in making business decisions. It is for these reasons that we have established this Zone.
Through the Cabinet and Parliament of Antigua and Barbuda, the 2015 Antigua Special Economic Act shall be legislated and passed. It will provide for drastic simplifica- tion of procedures, approvals, clearance and documentation of investmentrelated matters. The Antigua Special Economic Zone will be a model for efficiency and success and will be managed by a highly competent team that is committed to facil- itating investment activity on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda. A team of individuals has been selected to administer policy incentives and resolved issues by replacing “red tape bureau- cracy” with “red carpet treat- ment”.
We have set forth several growth and policy objectives for the Yida International In- vestment Group’s Antigua Special Economic Zone as fol- lows: Increased trade and export up to USD 40 million per year; Growth of investment up to USD 300 million per year;
Long-term   job   creation   up to 1,320 jobs per year; Local businesses revenue generation up to USD 450 million per year; National income diversification up to USD 660 million per year. All this will lead to the creation of an Economic Tiger that will be the powerhouse of the region and transform the destiny of our country.
The Government of Antigua and  Barbuda  is  encouraged by the USD$ 70 million paid so far by Yida International to bring the project to this stage. It demonstrates your commitment that this is not just a ground- breaking  ceremony,  but  also the actual commencement of construction in May 2015. The first phase of development will include a high-end ocean-front and beach-front villa community with construction of the first internationally branded resort all starting before the end of this year 2015… The entire development includes Antigua’s Guiana Island and surrounding areas with  2 five-star hotels,1,300 residential units, a casino and conference centre, a 27-hole signature golf course, a marina along with a commercial/retail/sports facility.
A quick conclusion of the construction and the grand opening in the near future will see the addition of thousands of high quality rooms to aug- ment our tourism plant. It is with this in mind that we look forward  with anticipation to the project’s completion, which will take tourism in Antigua and Barbuda to the next level. I can’t think of an environment that is as blessed as ours, with beautiful beaches and guar- anteed sunshine that would provide a more suitable busi- ness friendly environment and platform for global investors to conduct business and manage their wealth, than the Antigua Special Economic Zone, with the signature development that will now commence.
Our promise to our beloved nation of Antigua and Barbuda is that we will govern in such a way that will positively transform the lives of our people and safeguard their future for generations to come.
So on behalf of our Govern- ment and our God-blessed nation of Antigua and Barbuda, we officially offer our sincere appreciation to Yida International Investment Group for their investment into the Antigua Special Economic Zone. We wish the Group unparalleled success with its investment projects in Antigua and Barbuda! May the historic spirit of our Antigua and Barbuda  forebears  go  with  you.
Thank you, YIDA. May the God of our forebears bless you. May prosperity and joy mark the continuous path upon which we have embarked, today. Safe travel. Thank you.