John Paul DeJoria, who has been heralded as the billionaire behind the Peace Love & Happiness hotel project on Barbuda, has finally sealed the deal on the US $250 million venture.
Both DeJoria and his partner John B Turbidy affixed their signatures to the agreement during a signing ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
DeJoria announced that Peace Love & Happiness Barbuda Limited would be doing projects “not only to hire…the majority of the entire island” but would do others, which “will benefit the schools, medicine as well as the food supply of the island”.
He added that the project would “help the people and the environment” and would be “first class all the way”.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said it was a major advantage to Barbuda “to have an investor of the calibre of John Paul,” whom he called “a well-known business mogul…who is reported to have in excess of US $3 billion in wealth [and is] someone who is a known philanthropist and a conservationist”.
It was the first time that DeJoria, the major partner in the project, had publicly affirmed his involvement in the venture, which had been the brainchild of Turbidy, who is the company’s managing director.
“The prime minister made it very difficult for me to move forward, and he put some very stringent hurdles in front of me and it forced us to find the right investor,” Turbidy said.
He added that the third major player in the project is the Arizona United States (US) based developer, Discovery Land Company, which develops and operates private residential communities and clubs across North America.
Turbidy, who is not new to the twin island state, had no success in another project that he proposed for Barbuda some two years ago. He gave the assurance that the current one,
which was approved at a vote of 186 to 2 during a town hall meeting in Barbuda, would not suffer the same fate.
“The proposal in the past was a completely different location and it was in a completely different investment group that I don’t think had the same sensitivities toward the island as John Paul has,” he said, adding, “It’s a completely different team.”
“We are here to make a profit, but we want to make sure…that it’s something we’re proud of in the next 50 years,” Turbidy declared.
There’s more in today’s Daily Observer.