Former Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy came out swinging on Friday in response to statements made in the Senate on Wednesday by current Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins.
Sealy called in to Voice Of Barbados’ Down To Brass Tacks radio programme to refute Cummins’ statement that the Democratic Labour Party administration had signed a loan contract with the Chinese government which would see them claiming ownership of the port or airport if there was a default in repayment.
“There is a provision within this loan agreement that this administration spent a lot of time navigating because of that 2016 loan, under the Democratic Labour Party administration, that put Barbados in a position – and I want people to hear me clearly – where sovereign assets owned by the state were liable to be picked and owned by a foreign entity if there was a default on the loan,” Cummins told the Upper Chamber last Wednesday. She said the assets included “a port, an airport . . . anything to be picked”.
When asked by moderator Barry Wilkinson whether there was any truth to the statement, Sealy replied: “Absolutely none whatsoever.
“There is nothing in the agreement about any airport or seaport being [claimed] in the case of default.
“I do not know where that young lady got her information. I do not know if she is being misguided . . . [but it is] absolute total rubbish,” he said.
The former minister of tourism added that the agreement was regarding the Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel Project. He said the arrangement with COMPLANT (the China National Complete Plant Import Export Corporation) was for the project to be a discreet one which could stand on its own.
“The Government (then) was determined not to have a repeat of the HRL (Hotels & Resorts Limited)/Gems of Barbados fiasco so there was an exit plan where as soon as we completed the job, the private sector would come in and do what they had to do, which is exactly what this Government is doing,” he said. (CA)