Letter to Editor
Friday, 26 November 2010 06:55
By Mariuccia Mandelli
The owners of the renowned K Club resort in Barbuda have sought to clarify recent allegations surrounding the property. To do this, they have issued the following letter to the media for publication.
Milan, 25 November 2010
TO THE ATTENTION OF THE DIRECTOR
PLEASE, PUBLISH THE FOLLOWING LETTER
THANKS A LOT
I am writing in regards with several articles about the K Club issued in the local press where different political trends argue about the destiny of my resort. I feel very bitter about the intrigues behind my back to take possession of the K Club in a dishonest way.
This is why I have decided to address to you, to the citizens of Antigua and to the International press in order to describe some facts which will make clear what I have done for Barbuda and the people of Barbuda.
My love for your country began way back, in the ‘70s, I spent twenty days at Coco Point for ten years running for my winter holidays. The island was so enchanting that the desire arose in me to allow others to get to know it. So I invested a large sum of money in this dream of mine. Over the years of the resort’s activity, I never recovered that money , but I had the satisfaction of drawing the cream of international society to the island.
I planned the resort with the local people in my mind, and I wanted to ensure that they were treated civilly. My respect and love for them led me to prepare a “second home” for them, complete with all mod cons:
• I provided a kitchen with refrigerator, plates , tables and all the other necessities, especially designed in turquoise and white
• Impeccable showers and bathroom facilities, worthy of a great hotel
• I employed a local cook to prepare the food for the employees
• I organized a staff wing with an afternoon rest area complete with sofas and TV
• I created two separate sleeping areas: one for the men and one for the women
• I designed a dedicated maintenance space where working tools could be stored and work could be easily organized and carried out
• A laundry complete with ironing boards, in order to avoid tiring out the girls
For my affection and sympathy to the people I asked the Council what the population would like , and they asked me for an ambulance; I had the school bathrooms removed and provided hand-basins, having discovered that there was an endemic hepatitis problem; I decided to pay for the Us university studies of a deserving student, chosen from amongst the islanders, and by the islanders.
I had hoped for someone who would study medicine, in order to have a permanent doctor at the little local hospital, but this was not to be. Trevor Walker, the chosen candidate, opted to study economics. His studies cost me 250,000 US dollars; when he returned with his degree he did not come to thank me or even to meet me. It was I who had him called by the lawyer Clare Roberts, who had handled all the university expenses, to ask to meet him. I asked him if he had a job and being unemployed I offered him a well-paid job, as the administrative manager and director of the resort, and I placed my trust in him.
My trust was misplaced. ...
During his electoral campaign Trevor Walker stated publicly that if he were elected, he would put forth great effort to give the K Club to Barbudans, stirring up a resentment against me and the K Club. I still do not understand the reason of his unfair attitude towards me.
If you just read some articles from the local press, you can see that Trevor Walker’s resentment against me is still present: take the article from the Daily Observer dated 1st October 2010, for example, there it is reported that “Devon Warner, communications officer MP Trevor Walker favors acquisition, since he argued the hotel has been closed for approximately seven years,[ in reality less years] leaving the burden on the Council to employ approximately 200 persons [in reality many fewer persons] who worked at K Club in its hay days; it is our land he said adding: I understand the chairman has to approach it from the advice of his legal advisors but who is your greatest advisor, would it not be the people of Barbuda, he queried.”
Those statements have directly impacted on the underway negotiations for the sale and the re-opening of the K Club, by frustrating the possibility of giving job to the population of Barbuda.
And it is not through this genre of cabal against the K Club that the Government and the Barbuda Council will attract investors. In fact, an important hotel group, intentioned to buy my resort, gave up their project of acquisition by telling me that they would never invest large sums of money on a territory with such a unreliable Government.
Those articles such as the one mentioned above are not made to assure investors, on the contrary they are made to frighten them.
The current world economic crisis and the competition of other touristic destinations more reliable and more competitive in terms of hotel industry do not stimulate hotel groups to invest on an island such as Barbuda where the cost of the investment and the cost of the operation are much higher than anywhere else.
I now hope that all the news regarding the confiscation of properties could come to an end, and I also hope for a proactive cooperation from the Government and the Council in order to achieve a positive conclusion of the sale and the re-opening of the K Club.