Government presents Title to beachfront land to local Calypso Icon on his 80th birthday

Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne on Monday, presented the land certificate for a plot of beachfront property to local calypso icon, Sir McLean “King Short Shirt” Emanuel, granting him ownership of the property where he operated a beach bar and restaurant for over sixty years.

The presentation made on Sir McLean’s 8oth birthdate was long in coming outlined Prime Minister Browne, who said that the plot of land, nestled between the Sandals Grande resort and the Halcyon Cove Resort was made famous in song over twenty years ago when Sir McLean, known as King Short Shirt sang about his fight to occupy the land which is located on one of the most beautiful beaches in Antigua and Barbuda.

Prime Minister Browne stated that King Short Shirt would have contributed over 60 years to the calypso art form, and would have helped to form the collective consciousness of Antiguans and Barbudans.

“Your songs were  time tested and certainly your songs were inspirational. In fact, you yourself would have been a freedom fighter, helping us to fight the colonialists as we fought for independence. Your songs would have helped to literally inspire others within the Caribbean region and beyond, and we are very proud of you. Very proud of the contribution. God blessed you with a significant talent and you have utilized your talent wisely, not only for the benefit of yourself, but for the benefit of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean at large,” he said.

The country’s leader said that the parcel of land is worth close to one million US dollars because it is one of the finest pieces of real estate on the island. He said that the beach has been voted as one of the finest beaches in the world.

It was also pointed out that having operated there for over sixty years, the King has a significant amount of equity, and as the cabinet deliberated , they felt that after 60 years, he has earned it, and that is why they have gifted the land to him.

Speaking about Sir McLean’s struggles to own the property, Prime Minister Browne said that this type of injustice should not be allowed to persist in our nation because, if the King had  title to the land a few decades ago, he would have turned over significant amount of wealth for himself, his family and the nation.

“We cannot be so mean spirited with each other. And I think when we speak empowerment, we must show it. And whereas the king may not be able to benefit, depending how long you live and how healthy you are, you may be able to benefit personally. But at least we know that the beneficiaries of your estate will certainly benefit. And I hope they will cherish this piece of land after you bequeath it to them, and that they will ensure that it stays within the family for a very long time to generate intergenerational wealth,” said PM Browne.


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