Who's to blame?
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Who's to blame?

Antigua missed the Russian regatta and now they're looking for an extreme...

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Group Project "Russian business regattas"The Caribbean Sailing Week was suddenly at the centre of a political scandal that took place in the islands of Antigua and Barbuda. The local press harshly criticized the island government for having missed out on such a significant and fast-growing sailing event. The local edition of Antigua Speaks published material under the high-profile title "ANTIGUA TERPIT FIASKO - A fast-growing Russian regatta sailing out to Guadeloupe". The author of the article refers to an insider from the Ministry of Tourism of Antigua and collapses on the passivity of local officials.

It is fair to say that Antigua hosts some of the largest Caribbean sailing regattas such as Antigua Sailing Week and Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. However, the "Russian landing" has always been recognized by local business as the most promising and profitable event for the island.

The RBI website provides a short translation of the anti-Guyan press material:

ANTIGUA IS FAILING.

The Caribbean Sailing Week "Russian Business Cup", held in 2009 and 2010 on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, was met with indifference and passivity on the part of officials of the local tourism industry, so the organizers of the regatta decided to hold it in 2011 in nearby Guadeloupe.

This regatta is one of the most promising tourist events in the region, attracting substantial investments into the economy of the island state (yacht charter, accommodation of participants in hotels on the coast, organization of social events every night, as well as direct contacts of investors with antiguan business, offering financial services for the whole world). The number of participants in this sailing event has been increasing every year. In 2009 the number of participants of this sailing event has increased every year. The Caribbean sailing week has united under sail more than 120 (fleet about 20 yachts) representatives of the Russian business community, in 2010 this figure has already grown to 270 (30 yachts), and this year to participate in regatta will be not less than 35 boats in three divisions, including prestigious division MAXI-yachts.

"The main reason for the departure of the event to Guadeloupe is that the organizing committee of the regatta did not feel the support of the government. Despite the fact that we rumbled in all the newspapers and magazines about how we appreciate this most support from the government - it was more polite advances than what was really needed. We went for it because we wanted to do good publicity, but apparently all this turned out to be in vain," says a letter from one of the coordinators of the regatta, which was at our disposal. The letter also states that several Russian investors showed interest in business conferences with local stakeholders, but the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Control Committee failed to prepare the event. It is also noted that a number of important issues raised during the 2010 regatta have remained unaddressed by local authorities.

"In any case, as a result of the Caribbean Sailing Week 2010, when the fleet visited the islands of Antigua, Barbuda and Guadeloupe, the majority of the organizing committee members were leaning towards Guadeloupe as a new promising area for the Russian business regatta in 2011. The organizers and partners of the regatta liked the reception, and most importantly - the attentive and responsible attitude to the regatta by local officials and the prefecture of the island», the letter explaining the reason for the change of the water area of the regatta.

It is a pity that this year the regatta will not be held in Antigua. I hope that next time local officials will understand that the fault is their unwillingness to do their job (let alone to walk an extra kilometer). You cannot interest someone by giving them five minutes and a nickel.

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