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Barbuda Ocean Club (aka Peace Love and Happiness or PLH) is intending to be 700 luxury holiday homes starting at US$3m each, along the south coast of Barbuda. Already extensively building with Coco Point’s old lease, according to their brochure there will be a ‘vibrant surf-side village’ where Coco Point once stood. At the other end – on Palmetto hotel’s old lease they are destroying natural wetland trying to build a golf course (this never worked for K Club) and have further objectionable plans to put a marina on the lagoon: our important (and protected) Ramsar site.They are also planning a sports park, an organic farm and (to offset destroying their natural habitat) heavily promote their Sea Turtle Project and Reef Renewal.

The enormous concrete dwellings are completely unsuited to the beach-side environment, only a few metres from the sea, with very little information available about who the sub-lessee/owners might turn out to be, and which will bring no long-term benefits to Barbudans. Although some of us are employed by the company, there is very liitle opportunity for staff development or training and promotion here and so most of their hundreds of workers are overseas contractors and migrant workers from Antigua and further afield. The deal to give away this vast amount of land to one organisation was agreed with the Government of Antigua who stand to benefit hugely from this support, with the encouragement of a handful of incompetent, sycophantic and compliant Barbudan Councillors at the time (the perfect combination for a ruthless investor) who now can’t remember signing the piece of paper.

Fortunately some Barbudans home-owners are now able to make a good income renting surplus village accommodation to PLH contractors, and this prosperity was much needed after Hurricane Irma. And more recently, after extensive negotiation, legal action and pressure, PLH has conceded that the law states it must pay tax here and not to the Antigua government, and has reluctantly agreed to work with the current Council and in the community on a number of small projects in the village.