WRONG_WOEID WRONG_WOEID

A Creative Strategy To Help Revive The Economy

Our Humpty Dumpty EconomyOur Humpty Dumpty Economy - Notwithstanding the growing number of countries, including small, vulnerable economies, that have experienced economic growth over the last few years, whenever the UPP’s dreadful failure to effectively revive the economy is called into question, the ill-prepared government’s ministers, imported mercenary advisors and party loyalist continue to seek sanctuary in the global economic downturn.

They need not feel singled out for ridicule by this trite observation, because none of “speakers” of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), local non-governmental organisations (NGO), professional fraternities, or emerging political parties have offered any public document on stimulating the economy that is worthy of mention.

While the fringe parties struggle to get a foothold in the closed bipartite political arena, ALP leaders gain political mileage by peddling the dream of a brighter future for Antigua & Barbuda once the electorate hands over the keys to the “national store,” meantime the UPP government continues to teach the nation, by experience, the belly-burning lessons of economic stagnation associated with the heart-wrenching reality of social decline.

In a brilliant and timely Caribarena article titled, Invest in the Best, scholar and patriotic son of the soil, Dr Isaac Newton, makes the case that the creative ideas necessary to resuscitate the economy, create jobs, and consequently reduce the current high levels of unemployment and poverty, reside in our local talent, who must be given an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution in their birthplace. As true as that may be, creative ideas for the creation of new jobs seem to have been removed from the government’s agenda in somber preparation for the severance of thousands of civil servants, as mandated by the IMF debt obligations.

Judge for yourself whether the UPP’s “bright idea” of paying a British information technology company thousands of our scarce dollars to develop yet another website to market Antigua & Barbuda’s tourism is really the answer to repairing our piss poor performance in tourism, which resulted from our overall lack of proper planning. Indeed, the UPP’s “wrong and strong” approach to governance, coupled with its proven unwillingness to learn and grow, must not be allowed to continue to hurt thousands of innocent poor people who depend on government for survival.

A Taste of Reality

Antiguans and Barbudans need to wake up and smell the bush tea. Why does the UPP government keep showing us the bleak macro-economic outlook occasioned by the global economic decline? It is not the only picture we need to look at. What about the positive side; why no mention of the myriad opportunities upon which we need to capitalize? The plain fact is that we are living in the time of the greatest creation of personal wealth the world has ever seen. Concurrently, global philanthropy is at an all-time high. The world is full of billionaires and multi-millionaires who are donating (giving away) sizeable fortunes in order to fix the gravest problems in the world. Moreover, the same foreign direct investment (FDI) the government and opposition often claim we need so desperately is only a call and a negotiation away for the “local talent” who really know the ropes.


I tell you with the authority of experience that in spite of Allen Stanford’s stain on our already tarnished name, private and institutional investors want to invest real money in development projects in Antigua & Barbuda, which will create jobs, provided they can be convinced that the government will abide by its promises, honour its commitments, and allow the investors to realise worthwhile profits from their investments.

Furthermore, international lenders literally have billions of dollars available in the credit market in which creative development ideas and a sovereign guarantee can be used to gain access. I regularly witness firsthand, poor African and Latin American countries access low interest international development loans; and then I tune in and hear government and opposition leaders expound on how tremendously difficult it would be for Antigua & Barbuda to qualify for the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Brothers and sisters, we are living in the post global financial crisis era and the old boys and girls in the government and opposition leadership are just not equipped with the requisite knowledge to navigate these waters. The truth of the matter is that the economy of Antigua & Barbuda can be easily revived and the nation put on the course to prosperity, but it requires the existing political albatrosses of the ALP and UPP to clear the way for fresh ideas and competent, visionary leadership.

Using Construction Projects to Jump Start the Economy

Large scale construction projects have been effectively utilized to stimulate the economies of many countries throughout the world, including the United States (The New Deal Projects of the 1930’s), Japan (after World War II) and even Jamaica (today). Antigua & Barbuda is not a special case; surely, construction can be effectively utilized as a means of jump starting our ailing economy. The UPP government received this memo, but obviously did not understand the details. You may have noticed that the government has attempted to stimulate the economy by constructing a couple of housing projects, but has not experienced any success in that connection. The particular construction approach was doomed from the start, because the backward, “old-school” idea that “if you build it they will come” is an utterly retrogressive strategy that should be condemned to the “night soil” tubs of Antiguan history.

These new housing failures just add to the growing number of wasteful projects around Antigua & Barbuda, which stand as monumental proof of a country desperately in need of new leadership. Not “the better of two evils,” which represents capitulation to EVIL, but the embracing of new leaders from among our “local talent”.  We need bright, competent, patriotic, young men and women with the requisite maturity, self-confidence, international experience, and knowledge to navigate the new global economic environment. More of the same or the popular alternative “new wine in old wineskins” cannot move our beloved nation forward; we need GENUINE CHANGE.

Affordable Housing Projects

For starters, if we are going to use construction projects to help jump start the economy, creative financing techniques and strategies must be devised to deliver meaningful benefits to the working poor, who need genuine government support to own homes.


Hon Gaston Browne, who has a fairly good understanding of both economics and construction, proposes to build 500 “affordable” houses in 500 days in order to stimulate the economy. The problem with his plan is that the thousands of working poor people in Antigua & Barbuda who are desperately in need of affordable housing would not qualify for his affordable housing in the price range of $150,000; potential buyers need to have a ten percent deposit, legal fees, insurance fees, government taxes and monthly income of at least $2,830 to qualify. These onerous requirements place the dream of home ownership beyond the reach of the majority of workers in Antigua & Barbuda.

Hon Hilson Baptiste also recognizes the need for “affordable housing” in Antigua & Barbuda and has spearheaded housing projects at Follies and North Sound on behalf of the government. These projects are financed through a $40 M low interest (3%) loan from the socialist Republic of Venezuela. Some of the houses are completed, but the majority remain unoccupied, mainly because none of the houses in question costs less than $200,000.

Obviously, these projects suffer from the same problems as Gaston Browne’s idea, but to a greater degree and with substantially more devastating consequences. While Gaston’s housing project is a figment of his imagination, MP Baptiste has committed millions of dollars of loan money to these “stillborn” projects, for which he has had more press conferences than actual houses sold.

The Prime Minister would be well advised to halt further spending of the remaining loan proceeds and immediately transfer MP Hilson Baptiste from his present post to a position more suited to his qualifications, aptitude and abilities, in the Ministry of Health, in charge of inspecting the health and sanitary standards of local restaurants.

It gets worse. In an interesting twist, the minister of Finance, Harold Lovell informed the nation that the government endorsed a proposal from Nicholas Hadeed for the government to grant tax breaks, exemptions, incentives, and concessions to enable the construction and renovation of houses for the upper class, which will somehow have the side effect of stimulating the economy. The “Hadeed Proposal” relates to houses and buildings above $650,000. It does not require extensive investigation or analysis to realise that the only thing that would be stimulated under this proposal is Nicholas Hadeed, his friends, and family. The benefits of this proposal to the Hadeed Empire’s real estate holdings cannot be overstated.

In short, the construction ideas proffered for the stimulation of the economy are either constipated or diarrheic. The projects mentioned were all conceived in personal and political self-interest, and have no chance of successfully stimulation anything but righteous indignation.

Affordable Housing Solution

Neither the government, the opposition, nor the private sector proposals are endowed with genuine interest in poor People, so they were not creatively structured as a means of reaching out to the thousands of working poor People in Antigua & Barbuda and giving them a helping hand. Many of the working poor that are the most in need of affordable housing have laboured their whole lives in a low-paying government job, and are entitled to the esteem of home ownership.
In this vein, I will outline an Affordable Housing Strategy that can actually jump start the economy of Antigua & Barbuda, while providing support and bringing dignity to the working poor.

Ownership Strategy: “Lease to Own”

In the solution I am proposing, the potential homeowner will not need a loan, because the ownership concept will function just like the lease of a car, furniture, or personal computer, with an option to buy for $1 at the end of the lease period. Affordable houses should be constructed for the poor who qualify for them under this “lease to own” concept, but since many of the working poor will not qualify for affordable houses, this concept allows them to buy into affordable apartments, which can be constructed on a cheaper cost per unit basis than houses.


To help the working poor become homeowners, the unaffordable aspects like mortgage, deposit, insurance, taxes and legal fees are bundled into the “lease-to-own” format, where each monthly lease payment is applied towards eventual ownership, and property taxes are avoided until ownership eventually passes from the government to the new homeowner. Potential homeowners would be required to make regular monthly lease payments directly to the government in a manner similar to how payments are made directly to the government to acquire crown lands.

Construction Cost

To ensure the homes are truly affordable, we must creatively cut costs in every possible aspect without sacrificing minimum standards of durability, infrastructural integrity, and overall quality. Plus, the government must be equally willing to approve the same tax breaks, exemptions, incentives, and concessions Nicholas Hadeed said are needed. For example, my model apartment building (13,600 sq. ft.) will have 24 apartments: 12 on each floor. The four corner apartments (800 sq. ft.) will have three bedrooms, one half and one full bathroom; while the other ten apartments (600 sq. ft.) on each floor will have two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Considering a construction cost of $135 per square foot, each building can be built for $1,836,000. Affordable houses can be constructed on the same value per square foot basis.  

Projected Income from Monthly Lease Payments

If for each two-bedroom apartment the government receives $500 per month and collects $625 per month for each of the three-bedroom apartments, each building will have a potential revenue stream of $12,500 per month or$150,000 per year.

If each building is financed with a three per cent loan, and all of the new homeowners made their payments timely, the loan could be repaid in 183 months (15.25 years). In this light, the government may find it practical to offer leases of 20 years, and collect $2,253,886.43 over the lease period. This level of revenue collection would be sufficient to service the construction loan, compensate for defaults, and pay for the required land and infrastructure, with enough left over to provide each home with a new, basic duty-free refrigerator, stove, and washer-dryer. The same basic financing rules of this apartment building example apply to affordable houses.

My intention is not to present a definitive proposal, but to outline a model that can be embraced as a starting point for further discussion and manipulation of the numbers to reach the best possible situation that will help the working poor of Antigua & Barbuda realise the dream of homeownership. The project should start with at least four of the model apartment buildings in both Rural West and City West simultaneously.

Take a Hint

A business school buddy (Paulo) who is a senior credit manager at the Republic Bank of Beijing (main branch), assured me that with the dedicated income stream from the lease payments and a sovereign guarantee, his bank will provide a low interest (3%) loan to the government of Antigua & Barbuda for this kind of project. Thank you for your time.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the nom de plume of an Antiguan born “knowledge broker” whose intercontinental exploits involve work as a university founder and educator, military strategist, international legal consultant, United States prosecutor, published author, trade advisor in Latin America and international investment counselor.

The inimitable acuity of the “Pimpernel” is sought after by entrepreneurs, investors and governments from Dubai to Brazil. Recent work, created for Latin America, which speaks to the conjunction of technology and education to reduce cost, motivate students and improve testing results will be translated and introduced to school systems across the Caribbean later this year. “Employing anonymity to domesticate the ego ...”

 


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67 Comments In This Article   

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BRILLIANT

#67 BredaMan » 2011-04-11 02:17

I WILL VOTE FOR YOU.
NEW MINISTER OF HOUSING
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BredaMan

@ CountryMan

#66 The Devil's Left Hand » 2011-04-07 14:38

Quit Claim Deed
I do not like the idea of a quit claim deed and involving a bank for a construction loan, because the idea is to avoid these processes that add significantly to the up-front and overall cost of homeownership and thereby effectively stifles the dream for the working poor.

Limited Equity
I like the co-op City model, except I do not believe in giving back equity. If a person wants to leave he should find a person willing to repay part of the equity and take over the lease payments, just like a leased car. To say that the government squandered the Venezuela loan is the understatement of the decade. The writer directed them exactly where to go to find more low interest loan money.

Title
A lease is an asset as well as a contract, so the terms can recognize the sale, assignment or transfer of the equity accumulated in the apartment. If the original lease holder dies it can pass to his heirs, who will have the responsibility of continuing the payments.
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The Devil's Left Hand

CountryMan

#65 The Devil's Left Hand » 2011-04-07 14:37

Requests for Qualifications and Proposals
I agree that in a well planned project the land preparation, infrastructure works, and utilities are put in first. Everything in the way of architectural and engineering plans should be prepared by the project in-house and approved so that all the contractors selected by competitive bidding have to do is build to specifications. A separate procurement specialist should be employed to purchase all of the construction materials required for the project. The project should not have to get contaminated by CHAPPA or National Mortgage and Trust. The Government should create a Limited Liability Company with a board of professionals hand pick from among the various ministries to ensure the success of this project. The board should act free of government interference

Corruption Controls
First preference should be given to civil servants, and any person required to pay income tax (earning above EC $3,000.) do not qualify. The books of the project should be public record posted on the government’s website for all to observe the new era of transparency
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The Devil's Left Hand

@ CountryMan

#64 The Devil's Left Hand » 2011-04-07 14:24

Dysfunctional Bureaucracy
Thank you for an informed and insightful exposition of the issues. A housing project of this importance should not start until the slackers at the survey department have completed all of the survey requirements. If there is any unreasonable delay, the PM should go down there and let them know that the revival of the economy is at stake. Threaten people if you have to, but get the job done. No more excuses.

Sacrifice (Security Deposit)
I am for the lease to own idea where you need one month rent and a security deposit equivalent to 6 months rent to take care of the sacrifice that I agree is needed remind the lease holders of the need to keep the premises in good condition.

Maintenance Cost
This can be effectively minimized if the project keeps a regular maintenance crew that regularly checks the apartments like a good landlord. This may prove to be less of a problem than anticipated, because people do not take care of apartments that do not belong to them, but since these people are trying to own these apartments I suspect they will treat it as well as any new homeowner treats his new home.
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The Devil's Left Hand

rent to own part 2 (final)

#63 tenman » 2011-04-07 13:44

There should now be no need for a down payment because of the equity the person has put into the property the past 5 years. In addition there may be added equity due possibly to the value of the property being more now 5 years later, perhaps 20% more than the agreed cost price. This of course would be based on the property being kept in good condition and a healthy real estate market at least adjusting for inflation. It would also have to be agreed upfront on how much money the lessee will get back, of the moneys beyond the rental cost and the option cost and whatever penalty, if he decides not to exercise his option to buy.

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tenman

rent to own part 1

#62 tenman » 2011-04-07 13:42

home.howstuffworks.com/real-estate/rent-to-own-homes.htm can give an idea of how this could work. The problem however is the $1 suggested by the Pimpernel may make a joke of the idea of rent in rent to own because it makes it seem as if this is more like a mortgage. It then means the lessee will have equity in the home and would be able to claim it if he/she was unable to make payments. Perhaps a better way to structure this is to have the lessee lease the property for 5 years, having them in the meantime establish equity in the property and at the end of 5 years they will have the option to buy the property for what the agreed cost price was 5 years before minus the moneys their extra payment above rent and the fee for the option to buy. Let’s say the unit is valued at 100K EC. The amount for rental should be about 700, the equity payment 200 and the monthly option cost would be 100. This would then mean after 5 years, there will be a 12K credit. The person would then be able to approach the bank pointing out that though the property costs 100K, they now have at least 12K which would be above the banks 10% down payment

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tenman

@Devils Left Hand Pt 6 on the lease concept

#61 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 12:20

If one is an Owner and has title and the die then the property is part of their estate don't know what happens if they die after 13 years as a Lease to Own Tenant.
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CountryMan

@Devils Left Hand Pt 6 on the lease concept

#60 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 12:17

What the writer Scarlet P.. is proposing is Social Housing where the Government is delivering the unit ar no cost upfront but the occupant will eventually own the unit.
It would be interesting to see the criteria for qualification and what are the controls to keep it honest. My neighbor an attorney owns a water front rental property next door but lives in affordable housing built by the ALP Government.
Poor people can't get a piece of land from the Government but the connected middle class is avble to get and land bank cheap government land for their grad kids. The Lease to Own proposition is no more vulnerable to the underhanded deals than any other concept. I am concern that a well intended program runs the risk of benefiting the wrong persons
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CountryMan

#59 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 12:13

Tenman advice noted, but let me clarify I am not talking of individuals but the party and what it stand for if that make sense to you. I have many friends who suppot them and we use to have good arguments. I have said before most of the pilitians on both sides of the isle are friends so I will not make any enemy over politics . Anyway good night
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Cool Ruler

@Devils Left Hand Pt 5 on the lease concept

#58 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 11:55

As another among the Commentariat wrote: the cost of maintenance in multiple dwelling structures has to be taken into account. That cost factor may be the Achilles heel of the Lease to Own Concept. Again it needs more explanation. I am advocate mix-use, mix income communities and so any concept that enables the working poor to live in the same community with the lower middle class and the strivers is rich in diversity and makes for a stronger community..
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CountryMan

@Devils Left Hand Pt 4 on the lease concept-

#57 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 11:47

The proposition the writer put forward is sometimes refereed to as limited equity. COOP City in the Bronx is a variation. At COOP CITY the down payment is the equivalent of about 3 months rent. The equity grows very slowly and if you move out like many do when they buy a home; they get back the equity they have biult up in the apartment.
The writer indicates he has identified a source of funds. The lease proposition requires either the government provide the money or get it from outside sources such as a foreign bank or investors. You can't ask for a better deal than Antigua got from the Bandes Bank in Venezuela. We simply squandered that deal. If the writer is able to identify source of funding that are equally attractive then I say go for it.
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CountryMan

@Devils Left Hand Pt 2 on the lease concept

#56 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 11:31

With several Planned sites the government can issue Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Once a number of Contractors/Develope rs has been qualified. the Government issues Request for Proposals (RFP) for the sites that it has planned and surveyed. While the Government is going through the Developer/ Contractor selection process; it has CHAPA and Public Works cut the roads and APUA install water supply drains and electrical power.
If one looks at the enabling legislation CHAPA was created to plan and develop low cost housing National Mortgage and Trust was created to provide mortgages. They simply have not been allowed to do their jobs.
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CountryMan

@Cool Ruler - personalized hate is not good

#55 tenman » 2011-04-07 11:24

Cool Ruler, let me suggest that its better to focus on disliking the actions and not the people who did it or dislike the sin not the sinner. This way it would make it easier for you to see when others do the same thing or worse. Ruler I keep telling you that with your attitude others will take advantage of your hate and victimize you and those around you, so you need to let it go. Ruler let me end with a quote from Tim Hector from the same article I have been quoting for days now:
"The times are out of joint. In the meantime, and in between time, know thyself. And separate wolves and wolves in sheep’s clothing, from the real thing."

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tenman

Starting the process

#54 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 11:22

The Government should provide the planning and surveyed land and the infrastructure development. Those cost of items should be placed in a secondary position. The Government could then provide title with a quick claim deed. With title the value of the land is leverage to get each individual portion of a construction loan. This enable any working person to get a loan from the bank for the bank is holding the title deed. If a home owner defaults and the bank attempts to foreclose the Government steps in exercises its rights under the quick claim deed take control of the property and sell it to a more responsible party and pay off the bank or transfer the home and the obligation to a new home owner.
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CountryMan

@Devils Left Hand Pt 1 on the lease concept

#53 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 11:12

The lease has to be looked at a little more carefully. Their are lots of ways to get this done and the lease strategy may be just one of several. I would not knock it but I would argue that in spite of the difficulty in putting the saving and putting the down payment money, I would want to know that each family is invested. meaning they have sacrificed to get that roof over their head and so they will take care of that structure and have a long term interest in that community. The lease situation makes it easy to trash the place and walk away. See part 2 for contuation......

together for a down payment, when someone has to make a sacrifice
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CountryMan

Building affordable housing is easier said then done

#52 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 11:01

Scarlet
The Housing idea you put forward makes sense and is feasible with some as an idea. I have been done that road. Any affordable housing plan has to include the cost of the dysfunctional bureaucracy. The Survey Department is like a nightmare. Since they are so under payed they spend most of their time taking care of their private work. The Prime Minister since the days of Charlesworth Samuel has been sitting on a proposal to put the Survey Department under the Chief Land Officer to bring some efficiency to the process. That is one of the problems why they can't sell any of the houses at North Sound the do not have and can't get the final lot surveys. The litany of impediments are mind boggling. Any such proposal with have to include systemic changes that no one wants to address.
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CountryMan

#51 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 10:29

Nar I would say I hate the ALP more and what they stand for knowing how the countrys name was tarnished under them and the level of corruption that existed under them. I can't make out the new name . Lol
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Cool Ruler

@ Cool Ruler

#50 Prostitute formerly known as Professor (PhD not included) » 2011-04-07 09:14

Is the new monkier more to your liking?

I have no doubt that you really love Antigua, your passion makes your case, but I think "tis not that you love Antigua less, but that you love UPP more" ...

I respect defferent opinions, but purposeful blindness really erks me ... I do not mean to be offensive.
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Prostitute formerly known as Professor (PhD not included)

Skyewill

#49 Contractor » 2011-04-07 09:02

What do you think of the housing strategy presented by the Pimpernel? I enjoyed you article on leadership and I wonder what are your thoughts on the writers claim that we desperately need new leaders. I value your opinion.
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Contractor

@ tenman & @ Fred

#48 Skyewill » 2011-04-07 08:46

I was reading the same poem yesterday.
FRED - I built a building in Antigua in 3 week and the Chinese cam and took pictures...my first building ever
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Skyewill

Frankly Scarlet

#47 Skyewill » 2011-04-07 08:41

WOW. Intence..yes the island can turnaround and no it is not as bad as they say bothe ALP & UPP. The truth is we are too lazy to work hard to fix the problems we rather sell instead of improving it. If a minister don't understand your idea they kill it. No reform at customs inspite of all the money already spent and no programs that will allow small business to create new jobs.. Anyone can tax and spend. Antigua is a great place and is is small it can't be managed like a major country. i'ts a small tourist town..key word is small. We could have managed the marketing from Antigua by Antiguans world wide. I know for sure that we should not be in the economic situation we are in now.
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Skyewill

Why the PM can't fire Baptiste pt1

#46 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 08:38

@The Devils left hand. You are such a Devil, i got to be careful.
The Prime Minister has overwhelming reasons to remove Minister Baptiste. The results of the 2009 elections result left the Prime Minister vulnerable to the outrageous demands. Baptiste was among those who made demands and threatened to crossover if their demands were not met. Among those demands were to remove those individuals who Baptiste felt was an impediment to the way he wanted to do business. From 2005 to March 2009 CHAPA built up a surplus by simply applying good management. Because the Chairman is a union he was able to cut out all the redundancy and feather bedding without the workers calling a strike. He started collections of monies owed to CHAPA in some cases for 20 plus years among outer things. CHAPA had money like it never had before.


you may recall that their was alot of rumbling
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CountryMan

The Contractions Association Plan is a Hadeed family plan

#45 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 08:25

The cost benefits is not justifiable therefore one can conclude the Hadeed proposal is a farce. The primary beneficiaries will be the Hadeeds. Workmen will get some short term benefits and buildings material suppliers will sell some products. The Government is offering substantial concessions to build housing for rich people when they don't have a viable program for poor people housing. its a give away. What Nicholas Hadeed has done is placed the program it under the umbrella of the Contractors Association. he and his associates his and his business associates will build houses only for rich people at poor peoples expense.
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CountryMan

@ Dig it ... Merits of the Pimpernel Housing Strategy

#44 Professor » 2011-04-07 07:47

Job Creation
Every constituency in Antigua & Barbuda is in need of affordable housing, so housing projects in every constituency would create construction jobs all over Antigua & Barbuda. Buildings require maintenance and administration workers, who can be extracted from the public sector.

Spending in the Economy
Construction workers eat on the street and create business for food vendors, and when the get paid they spend money in the supermarkets, food markets and stores on purchases for themselves and their families.

The project will have to purchase some of its construction material locally.

Society of Homeowners
Homeowner ship makes people feel proud and attached to the well being of their community.

Increase Government Support
Any government that actually help me to become a homeowner is going to have my abiding support ... say what you want about them “UPP tek me outa house rent”.
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Professor

#43 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 07:17

Professer do you have on the red shades? You have taking that monikers perhaps to convey to the rest of us that your so educated maby even a PHD however all of us have different opinions or political persuasion and see things differently, ok! So don't get all bent out of shape most of us who blogg hear live overseas but do so because we love our country despite differing point of view.
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Cool Ruler

#42 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 07:02

Tenman I plede guilty missing that in the article, Caribarena has blocked my work ip something about spamming which is a joke since i work for a Bank. So I have to be using my phone during the day to access their sight . Had the same problem at home a few month back but no longer
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Cool Ruler

Head mek Book

#41 Papi » 2011-04-07 06:54

I have a house for my wife and kids and I pay about $800 a month for a small 2 bedroom house for my outside family. You mean to tell me that the government can help poor people to buy they own home with less than the rent money. Insted of help poor people they trying to help Hadeed and people who done have money. The government need to send for this Scarlet and pay him whatever he want to help run the country.
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Papi

Local talents

#40 Dig It » 2011-04-07 06:40

Scarlet, until we realize the resources we have at our desposal, when will continue to stifle our progress to go forward together! We have "local talents" that want to come home and make a contribution but do not want to work with our leaders and their out-dated thinking! It all about SELF and taking the credit to boost egos!
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Dig It

@Cool Ruler

#39 tenman » 2011-04-07 06:37

Ruler your observations are correct. There is an additional hotel project, In Grenada, that awaits Chinese approval on funding. The Chinese have decided to diversity their investments. As you may know they are now the second super power. Ruler perhaps you missed this portion but the Pimpernel also suggested that we look at getting funds from the Chinese (see the portion take a hint: A business school buddy (Paulo) who is a senior credit manager at the Republic Bank of Beijing (main branch),..) for the project he described above. If my memory has not failed me, this is not the first time he has made this suggestion.

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tenman

@ Countryman

#38 The Devil's Left Hand » 2011-04-07 06:31

I think the writer has a good advice for the PM on what to do with MP Baptiste. Can you imagine how much more construction workers would have jobs and how much stronger the economy would be if the government used the loan from Venezuela for something along the lines of what is suggested by the author. The UPP government would guarantee 5 more years for itself if it only had poor people in mind.

I want to know what you think of the Nicholas Hadeed Proposal where the government seem poised to give millions of dollars of concessions for a select few projects. Who is getting the campaign contribution for this government giveaway?
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The Devil's Left Hand

@ Cool Ruler ... you finally took off the BLUE BLINDERS

#37 Professor » 2011-04-07 06:20

The writer specifically encourages your government to look to China ... according to the Pimpernel

"A business school buddy (Paulo) who is a senior credit manager at the Republic Bank of Beijing (main branch), assured me that with the dedicated income stream from the lease payments and a sovereign guarantee, his bank will provide a low interest (3%) loan to the government of Antigua & Barbuda for this kind of project."

I realize that you do not really dislike the ideas presented in the article, I think that you are just upset and defensive because the writer criticized your beloved UPP government's lack of leadership and good governance
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Professor

#36 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 05:52

Tenman I note with interest that the Chinese are involved in many of examples you provided, well since we already have a relationship with them and since they are one of the countries in the world with money to burn ,perhaps we should see if they could assist us further. But even that approach may be criticize if it is pursued
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Cool Ruler

Well written

#35 Dig It » 2011-04-07 05:46

I must say that Scarlet really put forward one of his best, if not, his best article! This one will not sit well with the government, its supporters and symparthizers because it hits them in head like a "pound of lead!" I hope they take this article with them to find ideas and solutions to get off their lazy behind and go out to find these philanthropies and investors willing to help those in need! Why did we turn to the IMF in the beginning, who have us by the throats? Aren't we tired of hearing the government complaining about world crisis? In that, I like the idea of the "lease to own" concept and see it as doable in these times! By the way, this picture of Humpty looks like ERIC! I wonder how long would he continue to go on wall and continued to sat and have a big fall?
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Dig It

Pt.6

#34 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 04:30

@The Devils left hand,
You are getting to close to me. I see you want to peep my hand. Since you asked.. When i don't know I don't know and I will not speculate.
Here is what I know, during the negotiation for the contract you had CHAPA with the Minister hammer over their heads threatening them that if the don't sign he fill get rid of them like he did to the former Chairman and Deputy Chairman. See those persons were what i call true Antigua. they took their dismissal and the lost of the prestige and the per diom, rather than going along with a deal that is against the interest of the Antiguan people. They new Chairman means well but he is a softee so Baptiste and his people on the Board runs all over him. The African Engineer was at the table negotiating on the side of the Columbians. The friend up at Sugar Factory was never at the table but he was all over the CHAPA people pushing them to sign the contract.
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CountryMan

#33 Antiguan Abroad » 2011-04-07 04:23

Countryman, If you had taken the time to properly read the article, you would realize that it was the author who noted that there had been construction projects funded by governments "to stimulate the economies of many countries throughout the world, including the United States....". I contrasted that point to what was happening currently in the US where several conservative governors (in the states of FL, WI, OH, et al) have rejected billions of dollars in federal funding for the construction of high speed rail lines. i don't know if you reside in the US, but I can assure you that the chief concerns expressed by these governors was the cost of construction that their state would be required to put up to match the federal funds. Many felt that their states simply could not afford it at this time. Of course, their reasoning is now the subject of vigorous debate, with some suggesting they relied on faulty data in making their decisions.

As for "Jim Crow" arguments, I prefer to focus on more constructive forward thinking debates....I leave that kind of talk to more non-progressive individuals.
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Antiguan Abroad

#32 good job bob » 2011-04-07 04:04

Construction, especially residential construction, is usually the result of economic development, rarely it cause. Look at the results of building homes for the sake of building homes has had in areas without sufficient industry to support the increased population like Florida, Las Vegas and Arizona.

No matter how many houses the government builds, no one will be able to afford them without a functioning economy. Develop some plan to create good paying jobs, and the houses will spring up all by themselves!
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good job bob

Cool Ruler eXAMPLES PART 2 (Final unless you want more?)

#31 tenman » 2011-04-07 04:01

Dominica-
1. A geothermal project (Ruler I am sure you are aware of the immense importance of this project when you consider the price of oil?) www.greenantilles.com/2011/02/22/dominicas-geothermal-project-about-to-move-to-exploratory-drilling-stage/
2. There will be a new hotel costing 40 million www.travelpulse.com/dominica-to-build-new-40-million-fourstar-hotel.html

Saint Lucia:
New investor will pump 100 million into a project to revitalize $100 million Jalousie Plantation ( Ruler you need to see this property I stayed there for my honey moon. It was great then imagine how it will be after the renovation. (see internationalpropertyjournal.com/blog/2010/08/27/237-st-lucia-project-gets-new-investors.html
Bahamas - NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – The Bahamas government says China has “given formal approval” to enter into a joint venture to build a multi-billion dollar mega-tourist resort that had previously been put on hold.(July 2010 see www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/China-building-US-2-billion-Bahamas-resort


Ruler let me know if you need more?
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tenman

@Cool Ruler - EXAMPLES PART 1

#30 tenman » 2011-04-07 04:01

Cool Ruler can I take from your post that in order to convince you I must provide examples of islands in this region similar in size and situation to Antigua where investments are occurring? Let me first point you to a eastern Caribbean island named Grenada where the Chinese are investing in a housing project there (see www.gov.gd/egov/news/2010/dec10/14_12_10/item_7/chinese_housing_project.html

Saint Kitts - a new resort is being built named Kittitian Hill Resort (see www.sknvibes.com/Business/NewsDetails.cfm/15719

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tenman

#29 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 03:33

Professor you endorse wholeheartedly what the writer has written I don't, you have a problem with that? If you do I certainly don't care that's a matter for you
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Cool Ruler

Good and Bad

#28 dadlison » 2011-04-07 03:26

I must commend the author on a thought provoking article which seeks not only to criticize but to promote solutions. By the same token however, I must say, after reading the last few paragraphs describing SP's accomplishments, it occurred to me that SP has found time to help every country in the world but Antigua. Why not redirect the efforts currently put into being a US prosecutor and advising the US military into g**roots efforts in your homeland and the region?
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dadlison

#27 Antiguan Abroad » 2011-04-07 03:24

Countryman, I was not implying that the size of the unit equates to the formation of a ghetto. As you said, lack of proper planning, including loss of incentives to create viable employment and educational opportunities for the occupants of these structures is most likely the main cause...particularly in the US. I was merely opining that 600 square feet may be too small for an average family. The last time I remember living in such close quarters was when I was a student and for a short time when I was single. My home office alone is more than half that size, and I can't imagine that any family can comfortably live for 20 years (the life of the tenancy) in such cramped space....especially if the aim is to lift people out of poverty. That size may be more suitable for single occupants and/or couples.

But I do like your attention to the finer details like protecting women's lingerie from prying eyes...lol.
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Antiguan Abroad

Pt.5

#26 ContryMan » 2011-04-07 03:15

To effectuate what the writter is proposing whill require a mixture of various construction types. Traditional material of rendered concrete blocks or poured concrete walls (used at Follys); This is not viable for Social and Affordable Housing unless it is in multi- units as proposed by the article. Once you have apartment structures there has to be a homeowners association or a management in place to manage the buildings
A Variation of modular construction (as was used by Antech). is a viable approach to producing a BR single family units starting at 760 s.f unit sizes
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ContryMan

Pt 4

#25 ContryMan » 2011-04-07 03:05

@Antigua Abroad,
What does a housing concept for Social and affordable housing have to do with Stimulus Funds in the US? Show me a democratic governor who did not take stimulus funds. In fact the Stimulus Funds were block grants to the various states The refusal has nothing to do with additional debt for the individual state it was all about the reduction in the Federal deficit which the conservatives are using as a cover for the reduction in government. The Conservative are interested in States Rights. For you and me assuming you are of African decent it means taking us back to Jim Crow days where they States determine what your right are.
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ContryMan

I want the government to help me to get out of house rent

#24 Working Poor » 2011-04-07 03:05

Will somebody please adress the real issue of if what the Pimpernel proposes can actually be done to help all of the working poor people in Antigua get out of house rent and own they own place.

I need the smart blobbers to analize this proposal and let me know if it make sense because if this can really happen I want the government to start doing these projects tomorow early o clock
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Working Poor

Pt 3

#23 ContryMan » 2011-04-07 02:58

@Antigua Abroad
Units of 600 s.f. does not create ghettos. Beacon Hill in Boston is not a ghetto, Georgetown MD is not a Ghetto. Those two communities have lots of units at 600 s.f. their are many areas in Antigua today that are considered ghettos where the average unit sizes have not changed since the 60s when they were solidly inhabited by what was the upper class then.
Ghettos are being created by the lack of planning that is creating the urban sprawl where houses are being built without proper infrastructure including sanitary systems.
In planning housing one looks at: private space and public space within the units. For lifestyles like that of the working poor in Antigua you do need spaces for domestic chores like cleaning fish; hanging out laundry including female lingerie that may have to be keep out of view.... and on and on. So lets not bicker with the details if we can not have consensus on the concept.
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@ Cool Ruler ... READING IS FUNDAMENTAL (RIF)

#22 Professor » 2011-04-07 02:51

The writer stated "The plain fact is that we are living in the time of the greatest creation of personal wealth the world has ever seen. Concurrently, global philanthropy is at an all-time high. The world is full of billionaires and multi-millionaires who are donating (giving away) sizeable fortunes in order to fix the gravest problems in the world."

Clearly, this is an observation about the WORLD not about ANTIGUA in particular. As I stated before, the writer was showing that we live in an era where the richest people in the world are putting their money where there mouth is in terms of helping to solve GLOBAL PROBLEMS.

Nobody suggested that Antigua is a charity case, the writer suggested that we are desperately in need of COMPETENT LEADERSHIP. The writer spoke to the issue of accessing development loans and FDI, what more do you want.

Just the other day I witnessed some growth (maturity) in your political perspective, but it seems that you have put back on the BLUE BLINDERS.
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Professor

#21 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 02:50

Tenman persons like Buffet look are capitalist of the highest degree who are also patriots first and foremost, these guys with deep pockets will never see a small place like Antigua as a worthwhile place to do any investment. All am saying its not only the duty of government if persons have information why not let the authorities know who they are and in what direction to look, am quite sure that and credible proposal would be entertained, as long as it is not another Stanford or Dato Tan
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Cool Ruler

#20 Antiguan Abroad » 2011-04-07 02:39

Professor, are you mellowing in your old age (or did you win the lottery, get engaged, etc)?

Attempts at jocularity aside, I appreciate your remarks. I believe that people can disagree without being disagreeable. I like a good debate....and I enjoy good thoughtful writing.
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Antiguan Abroad

@Cool Ruler

#19 tenman » 2011-04-07 02:25

Cool Ruler, I honestly don't recall you ever quoting such to me and I am not out for a **ing contest with you. Ruler stop sounding like Eric. just examine the merits of what the writer is suggesting and use your brain. Have all persons stopped investing in stocks and such because of the recession? Ruler many would tell you the bottom is the best time to invest, its when you get the best deals. Have you noticed what persons like Warren Buffet did during the recession? He actually purchased some companies, one example being Burlington Northern Steel. Ruler his company (BNI) just paid a dividend of 2.25 billion, which is 3 times more than the railroad paid before 2010. Imagine what would have happened if persons like Buffet had your gloomy attitude.

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tenman

Pt 2

#18 ContryMan » 2011-04-07 02:15

it always interesting to lean how everyone interpret what the read. I though the reference to The wealthy and philanthropy in this case was to bring foward the idea that many times it the wealthy of a community that jumps starts programs that are designed for the social good.
When Roche a successful Maryland developer started building new communities which they made mix income communities. affordable housing was a large component. In NYC. It was David Rockefeller who initiated the NYC Housing Partnership which as become the model for affordable housing across the US. Rockefeller and other wealthy businessmen put their prestige behind a concept that helped to bring back NYC. Its time for the inter-generational wealth and the neuvo riche to step up an crate a concept of philanthropy which is non-existing in Antigua and Barbuda
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ContryMan

#17 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 02:13

Professer I may have to take out a patent on they phrase that boldface. I guess you are equating people giving their fortune to charity to be the same as investment. Perhaps you see Antigua as one big charity case to go cap in hand begging. If you and your friends know of people with money to invest why not do the patriotic thing and pass the information along? Anyone can do a google search and post links but at the end of the day not every lead is worth perusing
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Cool Ruler

@ Countryman

#16 The Devil's Left hand » 2011-04-07 02:08

Can we speak frankly and say that we understand why MP Baptiste called in his friend at the Antigua Sugar factory on the project in Folleys. These friend teamed up with the African engineer in public works to bring Colombians to make all the money from the project and take back to Colombia, leaving us with those ugly shells that if occupied, the sewage system proposed will pose an environmental hazzard to the surrounding area.

Countryman you seem to be well versed in construction and matters of business, tell us what you think of the idea for poor people to own homes through the lease strategy suggested by the writer.

I can't believe that there is actually a way for the government to help poor people to become homeowners for cheaper than rent. Pimpernel need to come run the country.
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The Devil's Left hand

#15 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-07 01:59

Oh tenman I see you want to start something today, I remember quoting that to you before while you were attempting to play spin bower. Anyway I will leave you just for today at the foot of the cross and will not be drawn into any verbal battle with you save to say whenever you try to justify returning the ALP to power just recite that poem as at times you act like you don't know from whence we came under them
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Cool Ruler

@ Antiguan Abroad

#14 Professor » 2011-04-07 01:53

Reading your posts today you have earned my respect on account of your integrity and unwavering ability ti call it like you see it ... even though I may disagree with you frequently, I only respect people like you "straight shooters" ...
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Professor

@ Tenman

#13 Professor » 2011-04-07 01:51

Thank you bro ... that one is a "keeper"
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Professor

@ Fred

#12 Contractor » 2011-04-07 01:43

I love Gaston too and I also trust MP Browne's ability to build 500 homes in 500 days, but I agree with the writer that the houses would be left without buyers, because the working poor could not afford them at the suggested price.

If the project receives the tax exemptions, incentives and concessions that the government is willing to entertain for Nicholas Hadeed, the project can easily be constructed for EC $135.00 (US $50.00) per square foot.

My friend I want you understand that the real point is the brilliant lease to own idea proposed by the writer that will enable poor people to pay EC $500.00 per month for 2 bedroom and EC $625.00 for 3 bedroom homes that they can call their own.

Can you imagine that there is actually a way for poor people to own a home for less than they paying for rent. I went over the numbers carefully and I must say that as a contractor with many years experience I am truly impressed. The writer even tell the government where to go and get the money in China. What more can they ask for. Respect Pimpernel.
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Contractor

Pt 1

#11 CountryMan » 2011-04-07 01:32

What is being proposed is consistent with proposals for Social and Affordable Housing models that have been presented to The Prime Minister, Minister Baptiste and Cabinet.
The proposals envisioned Government providing the land and providing the infrastructure consisting of: surveying the sites, clearing the land, cutting roads, bringing water and power to the sites.
Truth be told: Most of the proposals were presented by Nationals Abroad, or had an arrangement with a local partner. Some were flawed, others needed work, but a number of them were realistic and viable proposals. All of these proposals died along the way.
The main impediment was Minister Baptiste, who killed many proposals for the developers introduced their concept first to the Prime Minister. Regardless of the merits or strength of a proposal if one did not find their way to Minister Baptiste’s office first any housing proposal was dead on arrival.
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CountryMan

@Professor

#10 tenman » 2011-04-07 01:26

Professor its funny that you had to compose that title to Ruler. Just yesterday I found myself reading an old article by Tim Hector which quotes a poem expressing your sentiments. Cool Ruler this is for you:

Know Thyself,
A person who knows not
And know not that they know not
Is foolish – disregard them

A person who knows not
And knows that they know not
Is simple – teach them

A person who knows
And knows not that they know
Is asleep – awaken them
A person who knows
And knows that they know
Is wise – follow them

All of these persons reside in you
Know Thyself.

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tenman

@ Cool Ruler ... wen you na kno you jus na kno ... "Billionaire Philanthropy" (Google)

#9 Professor » 2011-04-07 01:16

I just wish you guys would really learn to read ... The writer is suggesting that although we are living in a time of more concentrated personal wealth, many of the richest people in the world are involved in global charities and philanthropic ventures. YES THEY ARE GIVING THEIR MONEY AWAY TO HELP THE FIX THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD.

Here are just a few news clips to show you that the writer knows what he is talking about ...

(40 U.S. Billionaires Pledge Half Of Wealth To Charity) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128983170

(A New Age of Philanthropy: How Billionaires are Giving Back) http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/new-age-of-philanthropy-how-billionaires-are-giving-back/19883006/

(25 Billionaires and Millionaires that Became Philanthropists) http://www.businesspundit.com/25-billionaires-and-millionaires-that-became-philanthropists/
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Professor

wow

#8 tenman » 2011-04-07 00:47

The writer not only criticizes but he makes a good recommendation on how to fix the problem. I truly hope persons who are looking at fixing our current dilema examine the merits of what the writer has proposed. His idea deals with a major impediment to home ownership, the cost of land, which can be 20% of the total cost of home ownership. I like his idea and though its new to Antigua where affordable homes are concerned, the rich have been doing it with condos. The writer is correct in regards to moneys being out there, the issue though is the requirements will now be more stringent. Ideas like the Pimpernel's will pass muster.

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tenman

Pt. 3

#7 Antiguan Abroad » 2011-04-07 00:44

The idea of a lease-purchase option is a good one, but one must factor in other operational costs if it is designed as an apartment-type (or condominium) structure.....includ ing maintenance of grounds and facilities, utility costs, etc. It would be a shame if these buildings were to devolve into the "projects" of numerous city neighborhoods (or “ghettos”) common across the US and other industrialized countries. As a side note, I think 800 & 600 square feet are incredibly tiny for 3 or 2 bedroom units. If such a project was to take place, at least give the residents the benefit of reasonable living space - minimum 1000 square feet for 2 bedrooms.

Good writing, Scarlet Pimpernel.
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Antiguan Abroad

Pt. 2

#6 Antiguan Abroad » 2011-04-07 00:42

However, this plan has met with some resistance from more conservative groups that claim that such projects only add to the tremendous accumulation of debt that the US is already saddled with. In fact, governors from several states have already rejected hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid for construction activities, solely because they believe that their states could not afford to take on any more debt.

Antigua has its own debt problems, albeit on a smaller scale.....I think it would need careful study to determine whether accumulating more debt by government could in fact stimulate the economy in a positive way.
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Antiguan Abroad

Pt. 1

#5 Antiguan Abroad » 2011-04-07 00:42

I congratulate the author on presenting an original, thought-provoking article for discussion. Certainly several of his points have merit. I agree that the government needs to tap into "local" talent (whether at home or abroad) to solve some of the island's nagging developmental problems. However, I don't know if I would necessarily subscribe to the notion that the "greatest creation of personal wealth" translates into a benefit for the “regular” people of Antigua.....or in fact, the rest of the world. There is no doubt that in recent times, the world has seen the concentration of vast amounts of wealth in the hands of a few, but middle class and poor families the world over continue to feel the financial squeeze associated with persistent unemployment and contracting economies.

A quick word on construction projects undertaken by governments….. Here in the US, the Obama Administration has been doling out billions of dollars to repair vital infrastructure (including tunnels, bridges and roads) across the nation.......
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Antiguan Abroad

#4 Fred » 2011-04-07 00:33

Are you suggesting that the working poor cannot find EC$2800 equity to invest in a house when they are required to pay in the region of eC$800-1000 in monthly rent. Your constcution costs of EC$135 per square foot is extremely flawed. The material cost, assuming that its reinforced concrete or similar grade building material will exhaust the EC$135 per square foot. Gaston's plan was similar, involves the government borrwing the money and making direct, low income loans to residnets. By the way, Gaston has a lot of experience in this area and I am inclined to trust him on his plan to build five hundred homes in 500 days.
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Fred

Solid, Sound, Sustainable and Practical Model----Why not try it!!!

#3 Dr. Isaac Newton » 2011-04-07 00:30

SP, Thanks for providing a hand-along-the-way model. Once again you have proven that thinking through creative ideas can produce practical results that reduce generational poverty and establish the building blocks for economic recovery and social stimulation. Self-hating tendencies will reject all that is good for national growth given our narrow-minded culture of old-school politics based solely on gaining party power-advantage and not on devising a framework premised on abundance for all. Perhaps the notion of investing in the best at the local level is far too threatening to the lesser of two evils rut we are in. Persons like you are the alternative good. Keep writing!
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Dr. Isaac Newton

#2 Cool Ruler » 2011-04-06 22:12

You know when i read this article I get the impression that the writers assertions are just a pigment of his imagination . The taught that the world is filled with philanthropist and billionaire waiting to throw a few crumbs our way is somewhat delusinal. If the writer is in position of information about legitimate billionairs who are looking to do as he suggested why not share the information with the government, instead of trying to write articles with sweet sounding but hollows catch phrases
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Cool Ruler

lol

#1 piky head » 2011-04-06 21:32

samel ole same ole
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piky head

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The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the nom de plume of an Antiguan born “knowledge broker” whose intercontinental exploits involve work as a university founder and educator, military strategist, international legal consultant, United States prosecutor, published author, trade advisor in Latin America and international investment counselor.

The inimitable acuity of the “Pimpernel” is sought after by entrepreneurs, investors and governments from Dubai to Brazil. Recent work, created for Latin America, which speaks to the conjunction of technology and education to reduce cost, motivate students and improve testing results will be translated and introduced to school systems across the Caribbean later this year. “Employing anonymity to domesticate the ego ...”

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