Business

St Vincent names new investors for hotel closed since 2016

Friday, October 19, 2018

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — The St Vincent and the Grenadines Government says three people, including a Scotsman, are the new investors in Buccament Bay Resort, which has been closed since December 2016.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that the investors have already signed the heads of terms of agreement (memoranda of understanding) with Brian Glasgow, the trustee in bankruptcy for Harlequin, owners of the resort.

“We had a long session…with all the persons involved in the Buccament matter, the investors,” Gonsalves said, naming the new investors as businessman Kelly Glass, Barry Ferdinand and Scotsman Jonathan Mills.

He said that Mills and Glass are involved in two tourism projects in Bequia.

“And they are branding them under a particular rubric,” Gonsalves said, noting that Glass also owns Blue Lagoon, a hotel in Ratho Mill on St Vincent's south-western coast.

“So he and his group will be among the leading hoteliers, if not the leading hotelier in the country,” Gonsalves said and reiterated his invitation for other nationals to invest in the tourism sector.

He said that while Glass is among the prospective owners of Buccament Bay Resort, “we have to dot some i's and cross some t's”.

“There are some other issues which are involved because there are about two acres of beachfront land for the Government. We are seeking to come to terms as to how we work those out — those two acres.

“There are some other things which we undertake to do in respect with another parcel of land, because it was a very complicated property with different sets of owners and complicated practically and legally. That's why it has taken so long and the negotiations have been so difficult between the new investors and the trustees in bankruptcy.”

Part of the resort is built on land belonging to the Government, while another section is located on land belonging to two private citizens, according to evidence led during a civil action that the resort owners had brought against a previous service provider.

Gonsalves said another meeting is scheduled for Friday.

Gonsalves said he was happy that two of the investors are Vincentians, even as he noted that Glass was born in New Zealand. He said Mills is also involved in tourism projects in Scotland.

“So it is good to see two Vincentians inside of this mix. And we are proceeding apace with the activity at Mt Wynne for the State,” he said, referring to the 50-room hotel that he said his Government will build there.

Gonsalves further gave insights into the second hotel that Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves said earlier this month, the Government plans to build.

“It will be an airport hotel. The idea is to have it built on five, seven acres of land at Diamond, just before you turn the corner to go up to Kings Hill. The idea is to have a Holiday Express, but have a little extra feature to it, swimming pools and so on, so that Vincentians can go on weekends, holidays and so on.”

The resort, which has the largest number of rooms of any tourism facility in St Vincent, was forced to close in December 2016, when the State-owned power company cut its electricity supply over non-payment of bill. This followed several weeks of protest by workers over the non-payment of wages.

Since then, the authorities have brought fraud and tax evasion charges against the British-born Dave Ames, the main principal behind the resort who fled the country in June 2017.

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