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Controversial luxury resort development Peace, Love and Happiness is on the hunt for more employees – and is already at work building barracks to accommodate them.

That’s the word from Information Minister Melford Nicholas who claims the massive project is delivering a boost to the sister isle’s economy.

The scheme – which includes hotels, hundreds of private homes, a marina and a golf course – has come under fire from many for its impact on the fragile ecosystem. The development falls within a RAMSAR-designated site which means it is deemed to be of international importance. The area is also a haven for wildlife and home to one of the world’s largest nesting sites for frigates, the national bird.

Members of the government visited the development on a recent trip to Barbuda – and in this week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Nicholas hailed the effect the project has reportedly had on the local economy.

“The ministers present not only took the opportunity to tour the hospital facilities, but also to tour an important development taking place in Barbuda and that is in respect to the PLH project … We have seen evidence of gainful employment taking place in Barbuda,” Nicholas told reporters.

“As a matter of fact, Barbuda may be the only place within Caricom where there has been a growth in employment since Covid and we were told by the developers that there is still a need for different skill sets and currently they are building the barracks to be able to accommodate workers from Antigua and so we are looking forward to the project being able to add some stimulus [and] expand the economy.”

Minister Nicholas also spoke briefly on how recent bilateral engagements on the sister isle have impacted relations between central government and the Barbuda Council.

“The members who attended the meeting in Barbuda did report to Cabinet that the engagement with the Barbuda Council and the members present at the meetings, even though to some it may appear somewhat combative based on the rhetoric, I believe what came out of the meeting and engagement was that there is a need for more engagement of that kind,” he added.

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