Opposition MP questioned Paradise Beach Limited project during the Estimates
Barbadians welcomed the revelation by Opposition member of parliament Ronald Toppin that two Paradise Beach Limited bond holders had to be paid by government to the tuned of BBD120 million. There was also the view that government’s haste to dump its minority holdings in the former Barbados National Bank, now Republic Bank, was to ‘shield’ this transaction in the wash.
What Toppin’s intervention did was to force Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to issue a clarification statement. BU understands the MoF’s explanation concerning the need to protect sensitive discussions by honouring non disclosure agreements. We also have applied similar understanding to the CLICO and Barrack transactions. Hell we understand why we the TAXPAYERS should not be told one damn thing. Those of us who understand the ramifications of the pending decisions will continue to live in hope that we will be told how a few people in smoked fill rooms will guide our future as well as our offspring.
In light of the Toppin revelation that government had to honour an obligation to two bond holders, how does this position the Barbados government? Can we draw a conclusion that the Barbados Government – or we the people – are owners of what use to be a picturesque piece of property at Black Rock?
Four Seasons struggles to restart
In the coming days leading up to the General Election – to be held on the 21 February 2013 – BU will be raising issues which we hope will be ventilated and explained on the campaign trail. The first is the vexing issue of the stalled Four Seasons project which has been forced from the public eye because of the CLICO and Alexandra issues among others.
It is fair to say that for most Barbadians the inability of all concerned to restart the Four Seasons project remains a big concern. BU believes the project is now suffering from a crisis of confidence. It is no secret the Barbados economy is a beast which must be fed forex to sustain itself. That it would take as long as it has to restart the project – harsh economic conditions notwithstanding - challenges our ability to prioritize and manage the issues.
The news coming from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler last week that the government will be issuing a good news update about the project very soon is being eagerly awaited. The usually loquacious Avinash Persaud has been persuaded to defer to government making the announcement, possibly at tomorrow night’s mass political meeting at Bay Street.
The author’s name withheld by request
A penny saved is a penny earned!
“A stitch in time save ninety nine “
Money spends like water when you are in government, after all it is not yours. You don’t have to account for it far less pay it back. Imagine a metallic claptrap spawning the highway by BET head office building costing $255,000 ? A real dignified stop light sign ….money burnt and burnt well… or a $500,000 Citizen Inauguration ceremony, including the bringing back of a stalwart and his spouse for the occasion. Really, what was that all about ? Caswell, you were wrong…no GG was as purported.
Why the need for the spend then, and the timing? Bad enough when the citizens of this country are feeling the pinch and hollering for blue murder daily, begging for relief. Little people must learn little fortitude thru sheep husbandry and goat rearing. Leave all big spending to those who know how.
Almond Beach Village beachfront
Neal & Massy (52% shareholder) delivered the Almond Mess lo Barbadians last week which has knocked CLICO from the front page of the Nation newspaper for the moment. A scan of that paper’s front page this morning should create some concerns for Barbadians. Bjorn Bjerkham is mentioned as one of about four parties bidding for the 30-acre beachfront Almond Beach Village property in St. Peter. If Bjerkham gets his wish a small island is about to be divvied up between COW Williams and himself with CLICO’s significant land holding currently encumbered as a result of its publicised demise.
In the case of Bjerkham Barbadians may want to sit up and take notice. If he is able to acquire the Almond Beach Village property, he gets control of the greatest portion of St. Peter coastline – he already owns St. Peter’s Bay in the Road View area. Remember he is currently working on redesigning the Six Mens area with the Port Ferdinand marina project. For those who are familiar with the area try to visualize if Bjerkham is able to acquire Almond Beach Village property with its vast beachfront.
Officially our government boasts that there are no private beaches in Barbados but if Bjerkham is allowed to acquire Almond beach front it is akin to creating a private beach front in Barbados by effectively blocking off access at both ends. Whether by accident or design our laws of public beach access in Barbados are being circumvented by those who have deep pockets.
So what is new anyway!
Posted in Barbados News, Blogging, Caribbean News, Tourism
Tagged Almond Resourts, ARI, CLICO, Crane Hotel, Four Seasons, Paul Doyle, Port Ferdinand, Ritz Carlton, Six Mens
The video summarizes a Wall Street Journal article which made the rounds this week – Caribbean Getaways Ensnare Buyers. It explains the current state of the villa market in the Caribbean which does not bode well for the Paradise Beach Development (Four Seasons Project). With many similar projects on the skids in the Caribbean this translates to a reserve of villa stock in a bear market.
Let us wish the professor, NIS Board and Barbados good luck with the project at Paradise.
Submitted by Old Onion Bags
Greece’s political leaders struck a historic deal Thursday to make deep cuts in government jobs and spending to help save the country from a default that could shock the world financial system.
Greece needs the bailout by March 20 so it will have enough money to redeem €14.5 billion worth of bonds coming due. If it doesn’t make that payment, it will be in default. Financial analysts fear that could set off a chain reaction similar to the financial meltdown triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008.
What would be the implications should the worse happens? What about our already fragile investments in Four Seasons? Shouldn’t we be more prudent and at least wait for the March 20th deadline before swinging another cent . Make “cents” to me, what do you think?
The politically weighed Paradise Beach Development Project (Four Seasons) has become one of several hot potato issues in Barbados of late. Should the government intervene by investing NIS funds? Are the original investors in the villa properties losing faith? A general election is looming and it is therefore very difficult to determine the motives behind many decisions. What is missing from the national conversation about the Four Seasons Project is empirical information.
Here is a document titled: MARKET AND OPERATIONS STUDY OF THE FOUR SEASONS BARBADOS HOTEL PROJECT which was prepared for the Inter American development Bank, a major stakeholder in the project.
Submitted by W. Lorimer
The controversial Four Seasons development
Lest we forget some of the reasons for this project…
Me thinks that people have perhaps become a little too bogged down in the trees of politics and grandstanding and everyone is tired from looking at this too long to see the forest – hopefully this might refresh people’s memories of why this journey began in the first place.
Why has the project taken so long to restart?
Why should the NIS invest?
Why would the Four Seasons project be good for Barbados?
Why does Barbados need Four Seasons?
Did you know…?
1. Four Seasons predict that this will be one of their premier resorts – great kudos to Barbados
2. Four Seasons themselves are investing in the project as a sign of their belief in the project and Barbados – they usually never invest in the development stages of resorts.
3. In the US alone in 2011, over $137 billion was spent on travel and one of the fastest areas of recovery in this sector is luxury travel so the sooner the Four Seasons project is up and running, the sooner Barbados will be able to tap into this market.
4. The new company, Paradise Beach Limited have put into place the following social initiatives
The scandal over the national insurance scheme’s so-called investment in the stalled Four Seasons hotel and villa complex has now run its rational course. There is clearly no business or economic case for the investment, despite special pleading from Professor Avinash Persaud, the public face of the development, and a moribund government anxious to make as show of competence before the next general election. The decision to go ahead with the BDS$60m investment, on top of the rest, is political and not economic. It is also quite clearly a failure of the NIS’ fiduciary duty to scheme members and to future generations of claimants.
Recently, according to some reports, Professor Persaud, executive chairman of the troubled project, has been putting his case, with the articulacy that one would expect of one of the brightest economists of his generation. But, as has been the case all along, he has failed to convince that the so-called investment is one that the National Insurance Scheme should have been involved in.
Before looking more closely at what is alleged to be Professor Persaud’s case for the defence, I want to take a closer look at what the NIS should be, and what it is not.
The government of Barbados, despite sound public advice, looks set to go ahead with the Bds$50m ‘investment’ in Four Seasons, the holiday project on the West Coast, which in time will become the biggest white elephant since independence. It is clear there is no business economic reason for the decision, as there is none, and the government’s decision to go ahead with pumping taxpayers’ money in to the project is political and not economic.
First, let us look at the only legitimate reasons for any such political intervention: first, job creation; second foreign currency earnings; and third, the need for top end tourist accommodation. Let us deal with the third reason first. Barbados needs further top class hotel accommodation like a hole in the head.
There are more than enough hotel beds available, which even at time of great demand, such as the Cricket World Cup, are still under used. During the CWC, hotels were only 70 per cent occupied. Even so, the government has a huge portfolio of hotels which it is at a lost as to what to do with it.
Posted in Barbados, Barbados News, Blogging, Caribbean, Caribbean News
Tagged Avinash Persaud, Barbados Underground News, Four Seasons, National Insurance Fund, National Insurance Scheme, NIS, Paradise Beach Development
Professor Avinash D. Persaud, Chairman of Paradise Beach Limited
Today the NATION has reported that law suits have been filed by UK billionaires Lucian Grainge and Aidan Heavy. Those who have followed the Four Seasons Project know that this is an OLD matter which has resurfaced. The NATION article quotes denials by Mia Mottley and Professor Avinash Persaud, principals for the project, that any NEW action has been filed against the project. Further, the matters are said to being handled amicably between the lawyers. Again this is an attempt at yellow journalism given the emotional nature of the Four Seasons transaction for Barbadians, SHAME!
BU understands there were some meetings held recently where property owners and other key stakeholders of the Four Seasons Project were present. While we are not privy to the finer details of what was discussed, we have learnt that the property owners are not happy with the Mercedes driving chairman Avinash Persaud. He would have done well to keep the likes of Sir Philip Green and other property owners happy because if they are not the Four Seasons Project is likely to continue to struggle.
The property owners led by Sir Philip - who controls Simon Cowell’s investment – have given Persaud 30 days to produce all the documentation on the project, after which a new company will be created and certain parties removed from the board. It appears there is some disagreement about how a certain 60 million dollars was used to liquidate debt.
Submitted by Looking Glass
Ground breaking at Pickering in St. Lucy June 2010: socio-cultural cost is likely to exceed the benefits of unfettered tourism and housing
Economic theory like ideology is “rooted in the material conditions of life.” However, despite what we believe or are taught there is no unilateral or universal relationship between the true foundation of society/country, relations of production and the legal/political superstructure. Quite often the structure of society exerts a determinative effect on the ideas that assume prominence.
Countries differ substantially in terms of physical and human resources, location and power. As noted in A Look At Dr Persuad’s Analysis what we call the world economy is not an unilinear or unilateral system and does not operate according to a theoretical model. Economic theory is based on rationality and assumes other things to be equal. In fact the only thing rational about man is his irrationality.
Economic Development is not a linear process. Standard theory and classical paradigms do not truly explain our structure and development. It uses abstractions to describe and predict diverse and complex patterns of human behaviour in an attempt to explain how societies work and could or should be managed. In the process many variables including the non-economic kind are excluded from the calculus.
Submitted by John Dillinger
Tony Marshall, Chairman of the NIS Board
I have followed your blogs [BU] with regards to the Four Seasons and Professor Persaud’s decision to ask the NIS to invest in the project as opposed to bring in international investors like the late PM David Thompson mandated him so to do. Was not the Professor to use his international connections to bring in the investment needed to restart the project? If so should we take it that he has failed to get the interest of the international investment community..the hedge funds, venture capitalists etc. to invest in Four Seasons? If so, then why?
Moreover based on two recent articles in the Nation Newspaper, one on November 24th quoting Minister Chris Sinckler as saying he expects the NIS to make a decision by the end of this week (coming after the now famous extraordinary Cabinet meeting of November 15th to “discuss” the Four Seasons project) and that the Minister of Labour and Social Security was “working closely” with the NIS on the matter. Does all of this smell like a hint of political interference in the NIS decision process with regards to the project at all, especially when it was reported that the NIS had been advised not to invest in the project?