Once upon a time there was an island. An island called Barbuda..
It was so un spoilt, a little jewel in Caribbean
(Barbudan man in cap)
barbuda,,.,Its the most beautiful island in the Caribbean
The sand was white, the sea was turquoise
( Barbudan lady)
It was so beautiful ————the sun was so white
But what made it unique was the land - and how it was shared.
When slavery ended in 1832 slaves in other Islands in the Caribbean reverted to being subjects of the crown...
Barbuda was different. The island had been leased by one family, the
Codringtons; and unusually, the land was then granted to the people there...
For nearly 200 years every descendant of the former slaves have owned the island as common land. This unique system goes to the heart of our story about an island so serene, so beautiful - that a British princess once said it was one of her favourite places on earth
But This was not to last …
Robert De Niro...
As far as barbuda is concerned I went there on a day trip and never forgot it
Hollywood legend turned businessman Robert De Niro also fell under Barbuda’s spell..
Mr De Niro is a Democrat fundraiser and a vocal opponent of Donald Trump
He talks about how he wants to punch people in the face.....want to
In 2004 Princess Diana’s favourite hideway, the K club hotel, went out of business, a blow on an island barely touched by tourism..
Ten years went by - it was left abandoned
Nothing is happening here.
...Inigo - All cottages abandoned ?
Yes they’ve been abandoned for years now
In 2014, Mr De Niro and his Nobu hotel group expressed interest in taking over the K Club. New name: Paradise Found...
At first the islanders were happy - and under their unique land system a vote was held to decide if De Niro could take on the lease.
The result is contested to this day - but at the time was declared in De Niro’s favor.
Faraway Leicester England... home to one the biggest Barbudan communities in the diaspoara.
We alway grow up know Barbuda for Barbudans. It was handed down from slavery….
Many of those in this room were born on the Barbuda and here came in 1960s…they still have a share in island communal land arrangement- as do their children.
From here they keep a watchful eye on events - and they are worried about De Niro
it's all about him and his conglomerates....
Robert de Nero don’t know what he is taking on - Because we We stick together, Because we unite and be strong when you come on the land rights. You dont know what you taking on Robert de Niro…
The reason that people like Daphne are worried, is that beyond hotel land, Mr De Niro also paid to lease an extra 300 acres of this precious LAND- in total that's equivalent of 50 Wembley stadiums..
Many islanders were incensed and brought a legal challenge
They blame the influence of Prime Minister Gaston browne.
XXX (DO we mention court case this week?) xx
Barbudans say were not properly consulted and their communal land, a legacy from slavery, could not be traded between the Prime Minister and Mr De Niro.
In this global village, Robert De Niro needs no introduction. he is the star of 90 films....(dips)
In an interview conducted for the government's tourism website Mr De Niro explained why investing in Antigua and Barbuda made good business sense...
Robert De Niro
We have been treated very well,. I have been treated very well here by the present government.
It’s a new government , they're young. Enthusiastic...More willing to...
Presenter: More development orientated…?
Now Prime Minister has introduced new legislation that Barbudans say will rip up their historic land agreement, their precious reparations for slavery…
They say Mr Brown wants to open the way for developers --- ---- and make Barbuda more like its sister island Antigua- where virtually every beach has a hotel - and cruise ships bring in thousands of tourists - and dollars every week.
Oh MY WORD !!! xxxx
..Its mid afternoon in the Antigua capital, St John's. Outside Parliament, a small group of Barbudans are protesting at government's new law/ PM brown’s new law - that THEY SAY will take away their land rights.
(woman with baby)
We came to fight for my land. I am asking all barbudans to come out and support us. So come out. Our Land matters…
Protestor (Man with banner)
Robert de Niro, the Paradise Found. We rejected that. We have a case in court. Its a big land grab - to please who? The foreign investors. Not to please the local people...
The government rejects such claims
Minister for Barbuda
The government is making an offer. And its an offer that can be accepted or refused. If there are 50 barbudans feel they want to exercise their rights, they have the power so to do. if the others want to remain in the communal common ownership situation, they too are free to keep that.
BACK In Leicester they remain unconvinced..
XXXX (((((((De Niro and those.. they never come to village. They just want the land to build hotel and build roads and everything,. And the poor people and they don’t have no say
he will tell Barbudans, you can’t go here and you can’t go there - and that is not on------
NOT in Barbuda !!!
(Channel 4 news music….)
The main town on barbuda…of what is left of it.....
In September 2017 mother nature intervened.… hurricane Irma devastates Barbuda.…
Over 90 % of the structures destroyed or damaged, and all the islanders, …..evacuated.
Over Four months after the hurricane, when we visited, the mood is disconsolate..
Just 350 of 1800 islanders had returned. They’re suspicious about the slow pace of repair. No Houses rebuilt, power and running water not restored..
Almost everything has been lost.
No moves made and no moves have been made to put essential services back.
I think it’s just the first step in plan to divide the people of Barbuda.
Their fury has been directed at Prime Minister Gaston Brown…
Inigo - what do you think of PM Brown? what person....
He’s a big time trickster - trying to fool all he can fool. Make promises, big promises and so forth...
Islanders are not impressed by seeing picture after picture of Mr Brown clocking up his air miles —- ostensibly to raise money to rebuild Barbuda.
—- Here he is in November- with Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and some of his shadow Cabinet…Here with the chinese officials; at the United Nations.
And with the Cuban leader Raul Castro…Barbudans told me they saw this as a publicity stunt that does little to benefit them, as they wait for the rooves to be put back their homes.
With recovery operations strangely slow islanders told us they see PM like a badland lord who declines to renovate a damaged property in the hope residents won’t return.
RDN..."I am here to speak...up..."
For his part Mr De Niro, spoke up at the United Nations after the hurricane, making an appeal for help for Barbuda...
We have a humanitarian crisis, an entire island destroyed, we must act together to help the most vulnerable, the ones affected by disasters, and vulnerable to the effects of climate change
BUT So broken is the trust now, some islanders ASKING WHY SOLD K Club lease IN THE FIRST PLACE.
In November 2014 the Government of Antigua and Barbuda appointed Mr Dr Niro as a special economic envoy —— a role that came with diplomatic passport for the actor.
They said he would help to attract investment and American celebrities to the twin islands.
What raised eyebrows was that when Mr De Niro completed negotiations and signed off his agreement on Barbuda’s K-club, he did so as AN Antigua and Barbuda’s economic envoy….
Why did Mr De Niro Did he sign this way, I asked the government...
Inigo- When he signed the MOA
MP and Minister for Barbuda
He’s an envoy for us…
We appointed him..Our PM appointed him to that post.
Inigo - so that is a political appointment?
Its an appointment by the PM
Inigo. - so that is a political appointment
Its an appointment by the PM.
Inigo - When he signed the MOA he signed it as the economic envoy for Antigua and Barbuda…
why would he do that?
Inigo - it says in the document
THE MOA is not something for the ambassador, its something for PARADISE FOUND….
It just happens that everything is aligned, properly....We have Mr Boustany and the Prime Minister very much for it and that is a big help
And there is the privacy …big thing
GFX - GRAPHIC
Certainly everything seem to align in Memorandum of Agreement between the government and Mr De Niro’s company for his new hotel Paradise Found...
GFX - GRAPHIC
(SHOW PAGE 1 – GOVT OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA LOGO / PARADISE FOUND)
Certainly everything seems to align in the Memorandum of Agreement between the Government and Mr De Niro’s company, Paradise Found
THE terms show....
(GO TO POINT 1.2.1)
That to secure the lease on 555 ACRES OF LAND ..
(GO TO POINT 1.2.2)
that will last for 198 years
(GO TO POINT 1.2.5 + 1.2.6)
Mr DeNiro will pay $5.2 million plus an additional 1 million dollars ...
According to the contract this $1 million dollars represents the complete cost of converting the existing leasehold to freehold title upon its future availibility
END OF GRAPHIC
BRITISH based lawyers acting for barbudans in challenging the new land act, say this clause raises questions about their (original )intentions.
Leslie Thomas QC
Garden Court Chambers
Its an amazing piece of foresight that the drafters of that contract, 3 years ago, include a clause that should the... ability to have freehold land that this can be converted into freehold. wow..Amazing..
INIGO ----Is that what the new land act says?
The new act actually has a clause that says existing leases - there are two and De Niro is one of them- can be converted into freehold...
The implications of this, Barbudans say, are huge..
That beach up there at K club, now called Princess Diana beach, was voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world….
It’s at least 3 to 10 million dollars per acre
Inigo -So they are sitting on a fortune…
You are sitting on a possible fortune if it becomes freehold.
SCRIPT CHANGE- ADD PICS???
ROBERT De Niro declined to comment on the allegations. Prime Minster Gaston Brown refused to address the substance of the allegations, saying only that our report is “salacious fake news [and] fabrications”.
XXX…..And so...Once again, as it was in the time of slavery, the little island of barbuda is the scene of a battle…
She used go to into the villages, she would sit in the village, she would go on the verandas of the people. I am crying out for her to be alive…
when it hit I thought you know If Princess Diana was alive, if she was alive Princess Diana she would never let let this happen
I am very optimistic about this whole project…I hope it really works, going to take a lot of work. its easy to talk about it- but you have to get it done
It’s just disappointing to see all this natural beauty is going to waste…
From all I know everything that has been done with Mr De Nero and his group…is above board.,
We will go to the court. And challenge any act in parliament that is not in sync with the people of Barbuda
Paradise may well exist on this island, but as everyone kjnows, inside the garden of Eden were the seeds of temptation - and the fall of man..