The Government has reported that a Barbuda project worth millions of dollars is one step closer to becoming a reality after the first set of funds required to cover lands leased, has been deposited.
Cabinet notes reports that the DeJoria group, represented by John D. Turbidy, was invited to Cabinet on Wednesday to report on the progress which the US$250 million project is making.
According to the notes, cabinet learned that US$5 million dollars have already been transferred to a local bank by John Paul DeJoria, the billionaire who is financing the project on Barbuda’s south shore.
Information Minister Melford Nicolas while speaking during the government’s weekly post-Cabinet briefing said that the funds will go towards the immediate expansion project on Barbuda’s airstrip.
“Mr. J.D Turbidy came to cabinet yesterday with some good news that the advanced funds that we had requested in terms of the lease rentals, was deposited in the bank and we are just about to move to the next level,” he said.
The payment is a pre-payment on the rental due for the property that is being leased for the project according to the government. Nicholas said that every procedural step has been taken to ensure that the new runway commences construction in order to accommodate high-end clients traveling in major private planes.
In November, Barbudans voted 86-2 in favor of the project which is expected to employ the entire island with a population of approximately 2500 persons, according to Dejoria.
The project is expected to be constructed at the Southwestern side of Barbuda and is anticipated to create close to 800 jobs.
Cabinet notes indicate that authorization by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) is yet to be granted; yet, a team of experts with knowledge of wind conditions and other pertinent factors, in Barbuda, has been charged with developing the plan.
Meantime, Cabinet was advised that another billionaire willing to expand the new runway even further at his own expense.
ZDK News understands that the billionaire, whose identity was not revealed, intends to lengthen and widen the runway to 8,100 feet and 260 feet, respectively, so that he may fly a much bigger private aircraft into Barbuda.
Nicholas said that the government is yet to meet with the investor however to determine if the offer will be accepted.