Following news that the Government of Antigua & Barbuda and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has joined forces to acquire the popular Stanford Cricket Ground and Sticky Wicket facility, former Stanford employees have raised questions, concerning their role in the negotiations.
While speaking at the ceremony to mark the WICB’s 90th year of recognition by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last month, Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that the government is considering joint ownership of the cricket grounds, a move which is anticipated to reap major benefits for the country.
However, Former Stanford Employees, who are still pushing to receive outstanding payments from the receivers of the Stanford Development Company, are questioning whether their interest is being considered.
Addressing the concern, Chief of Staff to the Government Lionel Hurst came forward addressing the matter as to why payments are still long overdue.
“Anything the Stanford Development Company owns, it was money transferred from Stanford International Bank to the company so they’d returning the monies that they collected from sale to Stanford International. They sold Maiden Island and Pelican Island and instead of the money going to Stanford Development Corporation, the money ended up in Stanford International Bank,” he said.
Hurst indicated that payments to the former employees remains a top priority to the Government and added that the Gaston Browne administration is doing what it can to ensure that once discussions with both WICB and the Stanford liquidators are successful and the property is sold, money is placed in the hands of workers.
He said this was the assurance given by the Stanford Receivers.
“The Stanford Employees got some assurance from the Stanford Receivers that the money that they garner from the sale of the Cricket ground will not go to Stanford International but rather remain with Standford Development so that employees can be paid,” the Chief of Staff noted.
Since the collapse of the Stanford Empire in 2009, Former Employees have been placing the Liquidators of the Stanford Development Company under heavy pressure to produce the monies to pay them.
In January, Grant Thornton, one of the liquidators of the Stanford Development Company told disgruntled former employees that no monies were available to pay them. According to government officials the move could cost an estimated US $6 million, 50% of which the government will endorse.