An outspoken Barbadian hotelier is suggesting that the Antigua and Barbuda government should look for creative means to fund the rebuilding efforts on Barbuda rather than incurring an “enormous expenditure” that will eventually have to be repaid through taxes.
Adrian Loveridge, the joint owner of Peach and Quiet Hotel in Barbados, said a casino billionaire, James Packer, and his Hollywood business partner, Robert De Niro, had planned to construct a $US 250 million resort in Barbuda before the passage of Hurricane Irma and has since pledged to assist in the rebuilding efforts on the sister island after the storm.
Packer and De Niro are planning to develop the resort at the site of the former K Club, which was once Princess Diana’s Caribbean hideaway.
Loveridge said the government should take advantage of this and other opportunities as it seeks to restore Barbuda.
“Clearly, as developers, they would not want to build a luxury resort in a devastated area. So, it’s a case of working with every sector to get it right. James Packer and Robert De Niro have an enormous amount of money, and that would be one of the first issues I would look at,” Loveridge said during an interview on OBSERVER radio’s “Big Issues” programme yesterday.
“At this stage, I would be speaking to Guyana to see how hardwood could be transported into Barbuda at a subsidised rate,” he said. “I would also be looking at assistance from that country and volunteer groups from around the world that would be willing to send people to help clean up the devastation.”
More than 95 percent of the properties in Barbuda were damaged by Hurricane Irma, which caused widespread damage across the Caribbean.
A week or so after the Category 5 storm struck, the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) estimated that the damages to homes and buildings in Barbuda amounted to US $200 million, a price tag that is expected to increase over time.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)
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