Sunday, April 21, 2024

PM warns against inciting racial tension

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The Government of Barbados will not be tolerating any racial or ethnic inciting of any type.

That was the warning from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley while speaking in Parliament on Tuesday regarding the Resolution: Parliament take note of MOU of GAIA which was subsequently passed.

While stressing why she believed the deal was the best on offer for Barbados, Mottley took time to respond to apparent remarks made by callers to radio stations with regard to the source of the foreign investment.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a $300 million deal with Dubai and Agencias Universales S.A. of Chile to improve the Grantley Adams International Airport.

“I hear that there are people who are talking about the fact that this is an Arab country. Where do we now get off discriminating against people on the basis of nationality?” she asked, acknowledging that the Middle Eastern entity was only one party in the deal.

“We are better than that and I, therefore, will leave those who believe that it is their duty to use the radio waves to incite racial and religious tension … There can be no tolerance of racial incitement of any type in this country.”

Her comments came after Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds also hit back at question marks from the public over the foreign investment coming in for the Grantley Adams International Airport.

Symmonds said: “It baffles me because we always look to the North Atlantic. All this talk about who will own and who doesn’t own…the airport is never going to be for sale but the management of it is what we are speaking about.”

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that our precious Sandy Lane is owned by the Irish so where is the fear of foreign involvement in our tourism coming from? If we can find partners who are able to carry us to equal or surpass that level of luxury, why should we not go there to them?”

The MOU in question will focus on a new Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the investment, development and operation of the airport, a hemispheric hub for cargo, expanded airlift and additional luxury which will cost approximately BDS $300 million.

The agreement of the deal with the United Arab Emirates works as follows:

From the start of the concession until the pre COVID-19 passenger threshold has been reached (which is the 2019 level) the profit split will be 70 per cent to the concessionaire and 30 per cent to GAIA.

Once that threshold has been reached and up to the 20th year of the concession, the profit split will be 60 per cent to the concessionaire and 40 per cent to the airport. In the last ten years of the concession it will become a 50/50 split. (JC)

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