Robert De Niro has plans to refurbish luxury hotel in Barbuda



Robert De Niro could be in line to redevelop a remote Caribbean island getaway in Barbuda if locals vote in his favour today (Monday).

K-Club is a luxury Caribbean beach resort which was once a favourite holiday destination of Princess Diana.

De Niro, who already owns the Greenwich Hotel in New York, is in partnership with billionaire James Packer according to The Telegraph. The pair are hoping to build a £162 million leisure resort on the K-Club site which now lies derelict.

2014 RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala - New York
2014 RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala - New York

According to The Telegraph the initial agreement includes a five-star hotel, a marina, casino licences, a 'high-end eco lodge' and a new airport for executive jets.

However, the land is currently owned by some 1,500 of the island's residents and their stakehold in the island is their birth right and has been enshrined in local law.

The actor is said to have visited the island many times and in November 2014, De Niro became the economic envoy for Antigua and Barbuda, according to the Daily Mail.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the Caribbean Journal in December last year: "We are indeed very delighted that you will be embarking on a very exciting project on Barbuda, transforming the island, making it one of the most exciting islands in the region."

The new plans for the resort would mean the public possession of the land would have to be given up. Some are worried that the 400 acre plot is being sold off on a 198 year lease for just US$ 6.2 million.

"I can't understand why they don't see the obvious benefits," one island businessman told the Sunday Telegraph.

De Niro has promised to train a local workforce in hospitality and security roles with as many as 120 new jobs expected.

With unemployment levels high on Barbuda some locals find the plans a "necessary upset", according to The Telegraph.

One island politician asked: "At the end of the day, the people of Barbuda are asking what's in it for us?"

Today's public meeting in Codrington, the island's only village, will decide the outcome of De Niro's proposed plans.

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