UK OFFICIAL LOOKS AT INVESTMENT POSSIBILITIES IN ANGUILLA “I Think Anguilla Is a Good Place To Invest In”
There is a possibility that Anguilla may attract some forms of direct British investment from companies in the United Kingdom. This follows a working visit to the island by Mr John Bowers, Chairman of the UK Caribbean Council. While here, he held discussions with a number of public and private sector representatives to get an understanding of areas in which his organisation might be of assistance.
The Caribbean Council, according to Mr Bowers, works closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, Caribbean Governments and various trade associations including the Caribbean Tourism Association.
Media representatives in Anguilla were told at a press conference on Wednesday, April 9, that a number of projects had been identified for possible investment opportunities by British investors. Chief Minister Hubert Hughes said one of Anguilla’s needs was more airlift for tourists and it was something that hoteliers “were crying out loud for.” He stressed that among other areas, hoteliers wanted to see investment in airport expansion and facilities. “They know that unless there is a standard airport that can take direct flights from North America and Europe, they would not be able to get the maximum from their investments in Anguilla,” he stressed.
The Chief Minister recalled that French investors were on the verge of commencing an airport project in Brimigen in the 1990s but, in his words, “we had a lot of negatives locally and externally and that did not happen.” He still firmly believes that such an international airport is necessary. Mr Hughes disclosed that a number of potential investors were expected to submit proposals for airport development at Brimigen as well as the expansion of the existing airport.
The Chief Minister also spoke about the need to undertake repair work at the Road Bay Jetty which will require a good deal of investment. He stated that, with respect to further port development, “the Government had already identified areas on the south coast of Anguilla, as well as Flat Caps, as alternative sites for a commercial port.” He emphasised: “We have to get the port facility started as soon as possible, and I would think that any money that should be spent, should be spent on a new site. That’s my position. There is an urgency to do something about port facilities.”
Mr Bowers said the priorities in Anguilla for investment must be determined by the Government after which the Caribbean Council would work towards finding the necessary investors. On port development he said: At the moment, the preferred route to Anguilla is to fly to St Maarten and then to take the boat over. “Of course, many people enjoy that experience as well, but I suppose the majority of people, given the choice, would probably wish to fly. I therefore think there are a lot of advantages in extending the runway, but a decision has to be taken as to what type of planes can be accommodated and which airlines would likely come. In my opinion, I think there are great advantages in having a runway capable of taking jets from North America and perhaps even from Europe.”
Mr Bowers was asked to comment on the business climate in Anguilla, as he saw it. “From what I can see, doing business in Anguilla is probably one of the better countries in the Caribbean to do business with,” he replied. “For example, I have been with the Companies Registrar and saw the system which is in place for people to form companies. It really is quite unique, very good, and perhaps one of the most efficient I have seen anywhere in the Caribbean. Anguilla has a very good legal system and … you have a good infrastructure also – legally and in accounting terms. So I think it is a great place to do business, and it is always nice to do business in a country which you like being in.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Hughes remarked that he always thought that Britain had a responsibility to assist with the development of its territories. He hoped that the time had now come for some real British investment in Anguilla.