By Elesha George
Antigua and Barbuda (Antigua Observer) – Prime Minister Gaston Browne has announced his government’s intention to make the island of Barbuda a “Jumby Bay on steroids”.
Jumby Bay is a 300-acre private, luxury island two miles off the coast of Antigua. It has suites, villas and private residences, owned and leased by the very wealthy. In stark contrast, Barbuda has remained relatively untouched for nearly three centuries, with its residents practicing communal land ownership.
Prime Minister Browne stated his intention to transform the sister island during the debate on Friday to amend the Registered Land Act. Browne emphasised his vision for transforming Barbuda into a high-end luxury destination that would rival the exclusivity and allure of Jumby Bay.
The proposed plan aims to attract affluent travellers and investors to the island, thereby driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities for the local population.
“The earnings for those hotels that we’ll be attracting will be significantly greater than all the other hotels in Antigua and perhaps only second to Jumby Bay,” he said.
But unlike other development models, he said his government will reject the model of all-inclusive hotels and instead develop the sister island into a high-end community.
“What we’ve decided is that Barbuda should be positioned as a low-density, green and organic island,” he explained.
Browne anticipates that the Peace Love and Happiness (PLH) project which has already attracted $2 billion in investment, for example, will contribute significantly more in taxes than Jumby Bay.
The Prime Minister insisted that the changes are meant to empower Barbudans with land ownership.