ST JOHN’S — Opposition leader Gaston Browne has named three investors, who he said he held talks with about investing in Antigua & Barbuda, during his recent trip to China and London, UK.
The Antigua Labour Party political leader said he and other ALP members met with “billionaire investors” Peter Virdee and Dev Bath as well as FBO (fixed-base operator) businessman Uday Nayak.
“These have been good friends of ours. In fact, during our stay in London they took us out, we had a good time. We have a direct relationship with them,” Browne said.
OBSERVER media could not independently verify the net worth of Virdee and Bath or if they are indeed billionaires.
However, Virdee is understood to be the man behind the UK based B&S Property Company, which on its website states it is currently managing in excess of 1 billion in real estate.
Virdee is also mentioned in a London Evening Standard article as being “the Sikh behind 200 million Oriental City development”.
On a website devoted to Dev Bath, it is noted he is a “Special Representative of the Federation of St Kitts/Nevis”.
His profile states: “Dev has been involved in the property investment business since the mid-1990s. The business has grown into a billion dollar property investment portfolio and holds investments in the Caribbean, United Kingdom, Europe and India.”
Uday Nayak, is understood to be chairman of the Mauritius-based company Veling Ltd, which won the bid to design the FBO Private Jet Terminal Project in St Kitts/Nevis.
Browne also said he met with “a member of Kennedy family involved in oil exploration in the Middle East” and “a senior official from Arab State”, but he would not disclose their names.
He noted the ALP offered the investors “concessions to assist them with appropriate land” and assured them they would speed up the process but did not reveal any specific concessions offered.
The ALP leader said he was preparing a strategy networking to bring wealthy investors to the shores of Antigua & Barbuda, should the ALP be elected the next government in the upcoming general elections.
Meanwhile, Browne revealed the ALP told the Chinese government they will be requesting a US $500 million soft loan should they win the general elections, which are constitutionally due in 2014.
“We indicated to them that Antigua & Barbuda is in a very precarious economic position and is bordering on economic collapse and we will be in need of a soft loan of about US $500 million.”
Browne said the loan will be used “to consolidate existing loans with an increase to fund several economic projects to include our flagship waterfront project”. (Antigua Observer)