Oleiwi’s ‘Iraqi Village’ Gets Cold Shoulder
The government of Antigua & Barbuda has not jumped at the opportunity to salvage Iraqi investor Ahmed Abbas Oleiwi Al-Hassani’s US $1.5 billion condominium project at Pensioner’s Beach or in arranging for it to go ahead elsewhere.
Instead, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas said, “We are at the stage where there are multiple interest in [state] resources…and I think the Cabinet has to take a balanced view as to where we are going to get the best returns on our investment.”
In October, the prime minister announced that the project had been shelved, but when OBSERVER media spoke to Oleiwi this week, he indicated that he was still willing to take on the venture and even supplied concept drawings.
While Oleiwi told OBSERVER media that the plans for the 2000 to 4000 unit condominium project were in their “final stages” government’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst said the Iraqi does not own the previously earmarked Pensioner’s Beach property.
Nicholas said, “I believe he still has an interest and a willingness to go forward, but whether or not the state would engage him on the original concept of the investment is another matter. The prime minister would have given an indication that we have moved on.”
Oleiwi’s project, which has been coined the ‘Iraqi Village’, was meant to be a real estate avenue for Iraqi Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) applicants to invest in Antigua & Barbuda, and was supposed to be accompanied by a special policy which, if implemented, would have placed an embassy in Baghdad to facilitate Iraqi CIP applications.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has made it clear that the ‘Iraq policy’ is off the cards. In the absence of the special policy, Iraq remains on a restricted country list from which CIP applications cannot be made, save through a few strict exceptions.
Posted: November 2016