It gives me enormous pleasure to be here today for this groundbreaking ceremony.
Today is yet another day in Antigua and Barbuda's leap towards fulfilling the expectations of the people and bringing another major investment The LABAHIA Hotel Resort & Condominiums – between the Adams Investment Management (Antigua) Ltd., and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda that will provide jobs, safety in housing, and the international acclaim that we in this country strive for as a tourist destination second to none.
It is very appropriate and I must say a welcome courtesy to involve the local community and interested stakeholders in a ceremony such as this today.
My Ministry, my Prime Minister, and the Cabinet in which I serve, have sought out and continue to attract credible investors with the expertise to assist in this country's transformation and sustainable national development.
This right thinking government wants only the best for its people in this era of high competitiveness.
It is precisely why we are here to endorse the progress made that has now led to the occasion of this groundbreaking ceremony.
We have attracted the attention of highly professional investors in the construction and development business; and we have achieved under the assertive leadership of this Gaston Browne-led administration, tangible benefits that this country can be justifiably proud.
Let it be known, that we in Antigua and Barbuda are extremely grateful to the directors of Adams Investment Management Group for their decision to choose Antigua and Barbuda as a key place in which to bring their comprehensive experience to bear fruit for the good of this nation.
Adams Investment's mission, wherever it has gone, has demonstrated a track record of providing award-winning innovative designs, outstanding craftsmanship, state-of-the-art finishes, while bringing the functionality and unique living to work spaces for every lifestyle. Antigua and Barbuda is getting some of the best from the best!
So I reiterate, that through Adams Investment Management Antigua Limited, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has found a worthy joint venture partner. A partner capable of the kind of development that we require, with the expertise for building a modernised physical infrastructure in the interest of the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
The general focus of this project, and beginning at this groundbreaking site, means that we are enhancing the prospects for success in our hotel, housing, and industrial amenities, which are all integral components in 21st century national development.
Our new partnership with Adams Investment Management Antigua Limited, while placing the country on a trajectory to fast becoming the economic powerhouse in the region, will be specifically adding value to our tourism product, the main economic lifeline in this country.
Ladies and gentlemen an impressive development will be built here at Friars Hill. Being more particular, I am advised that the multi-storied investment will boast 120 one and two bedroom fully furnished self contained luxury condominiums and several penthouse suites. In addition, the resort will include a 24,000 square ft. futuristic conference facility, a 300 capacity car park area, restaurants, a gym, tennis courts, gardens with walking paths, essential shops and an Olympic size swimming pool for an investment totaling US $52 million. I am also informed that the project has already received approval in principal from the Development Control Authority. This is indeed heartening as the total construction phase is projected to run between 18 – 24 months, to ensure that we all realize the benefits of this new investment as quickly as possible.
Given the absence of a state-of-the-art conference centre on island, and in light of the Government's vision for our country's development, this conference facility will be a welcome addition to our tourism product and now allow us to actively promote the destination as one that can attract
business from the lucrative “Meeting, Incentives and Conference Events” (MICE) market.
We envision that within the next two years Antigua and Barbuda will be hosting local, regional and international conferences to utilize these facilities in a Caribbean environment second to none. while at the same time capitalising on the opportunity for business travellers to vacation with their families.
For our part as the Government of Antigua and Barbuda we are intricately involved. We are acutely aware of opportunities, possess the political will to act, and far-reaching in our ambitions to forge good business and person-to-person relations, we have decided to vest 10 acres of the Friars Hill land to the fulfillment of this project.
No matter how big, how innovative and how exciting the project is, and how much it means to those involved, the Government of the day has to be able to create the enabling environment.
Ladies and Gentlemen the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party administration stands determined to utilize the monetary and all other available benefits that can be derived from the CIP to enhance this country for the benefit of all citizens and residents, and those that will visit our shores.
With this major investment here at Friars Hill, comes another avenue for us to shape and utilise the skills present in the workforce, while expanding the technical knowledge that can become available.
Our priority as a caring Government is to put to work our greatest resource – the Antigua and Barbuda human capital. Our people will get many jobs and I might also add that they will be good paying jobs! The opportunities for employment and the provision of goods and services that will flow from this fascinating project, will ultimately lead to growth and improvement in the lives of our people.
Moreover, this location given its proximity to the major centres is ideal situated. We are located within 5 minutes from the City of St John's, The “Golden Friars Hill Rd Mile”, with a host of business and shopping amenities. The delightful Dickenson Bay, which is a part of our major
hotel beltway, along with the adjacent Cedar Valley Golf Club are also in close proximity.
This suggests that this development will be very important even as we formulate plans to improve the road works and other physical infrastructures leading to and from here. With the property also being 10 minutes from the Airport, It maintains that delicate balance between tranquility and convenience that is ideally suited to either the leisure or business traveller.
As a forward thinking Government with creative solutions we have ensured that this parcel of land, through our partnership, will be of major significance and mutual benefit to all parties. While development and construction will begin shortly, the payment for the land, which is some US $1.3 million dollars, is to take place after the project has been completed.
But the ultimate success of this project and in fact any project often rests on the relationship between the investor and the workforce and the Government here in Antigua and Barbuda.
To that end, ouar Hon. Prime Minister Gaston Browne, and the Cabinet in which I have the honour of serving, have pledged and will give its strong commitment of support to enable that this project is not just completed, but done so without cost overruns and minus the man-made hurdles that can stymie a project of real potential and benefits for this nation.
We also will entitle this project, in which the returns will be lucrative for our people and add to the portfolio of the Adams Investment Management Group. This means that Adams Antigua Investment Management Limited will be entitled to enjoy all the privileges, and concessions necessary that are accorded to other CIP projects.
From what I envisage this morning, a lot of effort has gone into making sure all of these initial aspects are above board and transparent, which will allow the project to be completed as expeditiously as possible. We shall therefore all reap the benefits of this grand project in quick time.
As the Minister of Tourism, Economic Development Investment and Energy, thank you for the opportunity to be part of this groundbreaking
celebration today. It is truly an honour for me personally to serve in an administration that has been demonstrating month after month to the people of this great nation our proactive abilities in attracting new investment and facilitating the economic growth of our nation.
This morning I would also like to recognise the investors and project developers, Mr. Imtiyaz Adam and Mr. Farman Ramjohn, both respected and well known accomplished businessmen from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago who have made the bold decision to make a tangible investment in our country.
On Behalf of the Government and People of Antigua and Barbuda we extend best wishes. We congratulate you and commend you for your vision in partnering with us in our own vision to develop and transform our beautiful country into an economic powerhouse in this region. Thank you for helping to position Antigua and Barbuda on a path to experience meaningful economic development for all our people.
I am confident that what has been started on these 10 beautiful acres, is only the first step in the start of a mutually rewarding partnership with the Government and People of Antigua and Barbuda. We therefore wish you continued success in all your endeavours.