The Gaston Browne administration in Antigua and Barbuda has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with American film star Robert De Niro for an investment project on Barbuda to the tune of US$250 million.
During a special sitting of the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Browne and De Niro, who is a regular visitor to one of Antigua and Barbuda’s most prestigious vacation resort, Jumby Bay, signed the MOA, giving the green light for the renovation and expansion of the K-Club on Barbuda into an exclusive 5-Star resort, according to an Antigua and Barbuda Government statement issued in New York.
“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,” Browne told De Niro after the ceremony on Friday.
“Your project has increased interest in Barbuda. The project is attracting additional investors to our country. That is why I am delighted to appoint you as a Special Economic Envoy of Antigua and Barbuda to attract more investments to our twin-island state,” Browne added.
“It is my belief that your celebrity status will attract more American celebrities to Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean,” he continued.
Browne said that Barbuda is a “diamond in the rough and will make a net positive contribution to the treasury of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Your involvement in Barbuda shows that you Mr. De Niro, Mr. James Packer and your team are pioneers and visionary (visionaries) – recognizing that Barbuda represents a unique proposition for investment, giving you the opportunity to carve out a particular niche,” the Antiguan leader said.
“My government is very happy to be a part of this historic and significant moment,” he added. “Your presence as an international celebrity is of significance and to have you as an investor and a friend of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and an economic envoy is equally significant.
“Today is, indeed, an historic day for our nation and we are very pleased to have you and your team here and we are hoping that within 30 days we can conclude the deal and construction can begin in the next 12 months, providing employment to the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Browne told the American actor.
The award winning actor who has appeared in over 90 films, including the Godfather Part II and Raging Bull is also a film director, restaurateur and hotelier.
De Niro said he is happy and excited to do business in Barbuda, stating that the project will be unique and “great.”
He also thanked Browne and his Cabinet for accepting his team into the Antigua and Barbuda family, pledging not to let the government and country down.
Parliamentary Representative for Barbuda, where the project is located, Arthur Nibbs, said De Niro is inheriting a great property “as the previous owners were people of class, and they will be honored to know that Mr. De Niro has taken over the establishment to renovate and expand under the ‘Paradise Found’ brand.”
Nibbs said Barbudans are anticipating “an excellent working relationship going forward.”
Browne commended Ambassador Gilbert Boustany for executing the agreement, pledging government’s support in ensuring that the project progresses smoothly.
“We expect this project to be one of the most exciting projects in the Caribbean,” he said.