Above: Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Sheikh Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassimi
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne has signed a memorandum of agreement with Sheikh Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassimi on a $120 million hotel project, the government announced.
The agreement with the United Arab Emirates-based investor was signed on Sunday after negotiations following Browne’s trip to Brazil last week.
Al Qassimi signed the agreement on behalf of Al Caribi Development, which will develop a five-star branded luxury resort project on Morris Bay near the island’s famous Curtain Bluff hotel.
The property will be located on a 36-acre beachfront site, the government said, five acres of which will be developed into a national park facility.
The government said in a statement that the resort would be carried out by a joint venture company formed with the government, but that, should the project fail to perform within a specified period, the land would automatically revert to the government.
“This safeguard is intended to ensure that no long drawn-out court procedure is required to settle any complications resulting from non-performance,” Browne said.
The government said the project was expected to break ground on its first phase within six months, following the granting of licences and architectural renderings.
Al Qassimi is a member of the ruling family of the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
He is a frequent investor in private equity and other ventures.
The agreement is the latest high-profile project signed by Antigua’s government since taking over in the country’s national elections last month.
Sharjah is the third-largest Emirate in the UAE.
The UAE and the wider Middle East has been ramping up its investment in the Caribbean tourism sector, most notably through Dubai-based Range Developments’ planned Park Hyatt in St Kitts.