Western Imperial project appears stalled, and Watts hopes its lands have not been encumbered like Morris Bay development

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Questions are being raised about the Western Imperial Special Economic Zone (WISEZ) project, since nothing appears to have happened on the site since the agreement was signed last year.

Apart from the erection of fence poles in an area designated for a marijuana farm, sources say, nothing further has been done. There are further reports that the grass is overgrown and all equipment has been removed from the location.

Over 500 acres of land were sold by private owners to an Indian investor and the area was designated by the Gaston Browne Administration a special economic zone: 245 acres in Jennings and 304 acres in Five Islands.

According to the agreement governing WISEZ, factories, universities and several five-star hotels were expected to be constructed and operated in the zone.

Algernon “Serpent” Watts, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. George, is hoping that those lands have not been tied up otherwise – as is the case for similarly announced investment projects.

Watts makes specific reference to lands in the Morris Bay area, where a Middle Eastern investor was to have constructed a luxury resort development known as Callaloo Cay. He says he is surprised that the people have not been agitating for transparency and information about this project.

Watts believes that this latest project– just like the YIDA venture – will not get off the ground, either.

Under the WISEZ licensing agreement – gazetted on September 23, 2021 – the Gaston Browne Administration has granted a number of incentives and concessions that will remain in force during the life of the special economic zone.

The agreement also grants the investor a licence into perpetuity for food, beverage, liquor, entertainment, and hotel and casino services, which is effective 365 days each year and 24 hours a day for the life of the operation of the Zone.

The Zone was established reportedly to attract domestic and foreign direct investment.

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