Caribbean islanders object to Robert De Niro resort

Caribbean islanders  object to Robert De Niro resort

Robert De Niro is facing a legal battle from residents on the island of Barbuda over his plans to develop a resort that was once a favourite of Princess Diana.

The Hollywood actor and his business partner James Packer are investing millions in revamping and reopening the K Club, where Princess Diana used to take her sons on holiday.

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The resort closed 12 years ago, and plans to reopen it have hit some objections.

According to the Telegraph, more than 300 of the island's 1,500 residents signed a petition objecting to the development, which they say is excessive.

Mackenzie Frank, leader of the protest group Barbuda People's Movement, told the paper: "No one objects to the K Club being re-opened, but they want so much extra land. There are an awful lot of issues at stake."

Back in 2014, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda agreed to lease 555 acres of land on Barbuda to Packer and DeNiro's company, Paradise Found, on a 198-year lease for $6.2 million.

Paradise Found is planning to invest £204 million into the project over 10 years, but only on the condition that they can lease an extra 300 acres around the site, adds the Telegraph.

In February 2015 the people of Barbuda held a meeting at which they supported De Niro's plans. Mr Frank and others challenged the result, and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda passed an Act agreeing to De Niro's proposal, called the Paradise Found Act. Mr Frank is challenging the act and says it's unconstitutional .

Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said he respects the people's right to protest but that the investment will "put people back to work" and will help grow the economy.

Indeed, the liaison officer between the government and the Paradise Found Project has determined that the legal action which has been mounted by the Barbuda People's Movement (BPM) will not affect the future of the project.

According to the Antigua Observer, ambassador at Large Gilbert Boustany said despite the court case, no stop order has been issued for the project, which is expected to get under way in early 2017.

Mr Boustany said: "There is no injunction; there is no stop order or anything like that on the project. And I will go further to say the people of Barbuda and even the ones who brought the action fully support the project and would love it. They are just not happy, from their point of view, with the way government handled the process."

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