“I have been advised by Gerald Watt and Co that we should not sign any deal. I understand that the government has a strong case, that the demands that they are making for $228 million in damages, as settlement, that it’s unlikely that they will get anything close,” Browne said.
APC has sued the government and the China EXIM Bank for over $220 million, claiming that the former Baldwin Spencer-administration breached a contract with APC.
The Hadeed-owned firm said the government reneged on the second phase of a joint venture contract to provide the country with 50.9 megawatts of electricity and instead entered an agreement with the Chinese government to construct the Wadadli Power Plant.
The Privy Council, in 2013, ruled in APC’s favour and referred the case to the local High Court to determine damages.
“I want to make sure that the people of Antigua and Barbuda get the best deal, and I have declined signing any agreement. So, I imagine the matter will be tied up in court for some time,” Browne said.
“It’s pointless for me to negotiate a $100 million settlement when our lawyers are suggesting it may be 20 (million); it may be minimal,” he added.
Browne said Aziz Hadeed’s inclusion of the Chinese EXIM Bank in the lawsuit is jeopardising funding for a US $200 million port redevelopment, and last month he said he had succeeded through negotiations in getting the EXIM Bank dropped from the lawsuit. But Browne, on Wednesday, said that is now uncertain and thus the fate of the US $225 million port redevelopment appears uncertain.