ANTIGUA: Gun Factory Deal To Be Called Off

Below is a statement from Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

“There was no formal decision of the Cabinet to establish a gun factory.  However, An informal undertaking was given to an Italian handgun manufacturer to establish a handgun factory in the special economic zone.  This occurred on an occasion while I was off island.  I subsequently heard about it and indicated to the agent of the investor that it was a bad idea.
I was told at the time that the guns would have been manufactured based on international standards and for exportation only.  And that, they would not have been eligible for sale in the domestic market.  At the time, I maintained for various reasons that we should not proceed with the proposed investment.
I thought it was a dead issue until yesterday when it was brought to my attention, that a letter was sent to a Minister to expedite the passage of the necessary laws and regulations to expedite the investment.  This request was made despite the fact that the matter never came before the Cabinet for ratification.
Having heard the public sentiments, which were in keeping with my own concerns; I directed AG to cease any further negotiations or discussions on this proposed investment.  A firm policy decision will be taken at the next Cabinet meeting and communicated to the public.
Thanks to all those who weighed in on the issue.
Ultimately, I am confident that the correct decision was taken.”       Antigua Observer 

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