Antigua and Barbuda Hope to Become ‘Economic Powerhouse’ With Help From China

The new government of Antigua and Barbuda has signed an agreement with Chinese investors to build a major resort and residential development project in the twin-island Caribbean nation.

Gaston Browne became prime minister on Friday after leading his Antigua and Barbuda Labor Party to a dominating win in the general election. Over the weekend, he signed a memorandum of agreement with a Chinese company for a proposed US$740-million project on outlying Guiana Island and nearby parcels.

Plans call for the construction of five luxury hotels, 1,300 residential units, a casino, golf course, and marina, among other facilities.

The 460-acre (184-hectare) Guiana Island and the additional patchwork of land were previously owned by convicted Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford, a Texas financier who based his fraudulent offshore banking empire in Antigua and funded the islands’ government before his 2009 arrest by U.S. authorities.

Developers will have to purchase the roughly 1,500 acres of land from Stanford liquidators.

Browne’s Labor Party announced late Sunday that the new prime minister signed the agreement with Yida Zhang, director of Yida International Investment Antigua Limited, after eight hours of negotiations.

“I promised the people that my administration would bring the type of investments to the country that will transform Antigua and Barbuda into an economic powerhouse and I am serious about that promise,” Browne said.

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