Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Chinese firm eyes hurricane-ravaged Barbuda, wants to establish new town

Published:Saturday | October 14, 2017 | 3:42 PM
Antigua and Barbuda's Governor General Sir William Rodney (right) listens after addressing a high-level meeting on Hurricane Irma at the United Nations, on September 18. - AP

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):
The Antigua and Barbuda government says a Chinese firm has shown interest in establishing a new town on Barbuda, which was severely damaged when Hurricane Irma passed through the Lesser Antilles last month.

A government statement, which did not identify the Chinese firm, noted that it has expertise in energy and housing and had been invited to brief the Cabinet by the Minister of Works and Housing Eustace Lake.

According to the statement, the Chinese firm has “proposed to construct a complex of several high-rise apartment buildings that could resist hurricane winds exceeding 200 miles per hour”.

It said that the complex would include a supermarket, cleaners, a drug store, a restaurant, a movie theatre, clothing stores, a church, car parks and other kinds of amenities that are common to new complexes.

The statement said that the team agreed to return in a week with prices and has “assured the Cabinet that it could arrange financing that is low cost, and living spaces that would also be within the reach of families with limited means”.

The Gaston Browne administration, which had initially declared Barbuda inhabitable following the passage of the Category 5 storm, has said that it needs in excess of US$200 million to re-develop the island that is home to an estimated 1,600 people.

Media reports said that so far less than US$50 million have been pledged from friendly governments and organisations.