Antigua government to acquire Stanford lands

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, February 26, 2009 – The Antigua and Barbuda government will today move to compulsorily acquire more than 250 acres of land owned by the Stanford Financial Company.
 
An emergency meeting of the House of Representatives will be held this morning and a motion moved by Attorney General Justin Simon QC, to put the lands, much of it surrounding the country’s VC Bird International Airport, into government hands.
 
The action follows an order given in the United States (US) District Court for the Northern District Texas, for a receiver to be appointed to take control of the assets of Sir Allen Stanford and his companies after he was charged with fraud.
 
A government release issued ahead of today’s parliamentary sitting said that the appointment of a receiver “threatens the financial viability of the Bank of Antigua, the prompt payment by the Stanford Group of Companies of the massive outstanding debt to local suppliers and the continued employment of over eight hundred employees at a time of global financial crisis.”
 
It said the acquisition of Sir Allen’s land is being pursued “to protect the national economy and give necessary support and assistance to the local banking sector and its regulatory authority, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank”.
 
The Land Acquisition Act provides that if the Cabinet considers that any land should be acquired for a public purpose it may, with the approval of the Legislature, make a declaration to that effect.
 
Parliament had to reconvene this week, after being dissolved in preparation for the March 12th elections, in order for the motion to be discussed. The Senate will sit tomorrow.