Submitted by Old Onions Bag
Paradise Development in limbo
When people don’t make use of their history, they are bound to repeat mistakes. Recall the Battle of Waterloo, think for one moment how Napoleon would fall for a similar Wellington’s ploy of deception, and engage a third of his French infantry on a pedestrian bridge that led to nowhere? Obviously not, once bitten twice shy. We should always learn from our mistakes or we doomed to repeat them. The great Napoleon would.
Recall another famous general Hannibal,… think he would ever consider marching his army of ten million elephants and men, into the Alps in the near winter months regardless how lucrative the potential outcome? Doubtful indeed. We have the Greeks and the Trojan Horse, yet another to proffer. History is loaded with great men falling to mistakes while reaching for superior possibilities. Less we forget “All that glitters is not gold, often is the weary traveller told.”
We all at sometime make mistakes (to err is human), but we should at all cost avoid repeating them regardless of circumstance, no matter the potential outcomes. Beware of bearers of fine gifts, remember the dog and the bone. A bird in hand is worth three in the bush. The people of Black Rock and its echelons would surely sanctify that, as for them while streets promised were to be paved with gold… Paradise Lost was never re-found, all left was a debauched Four Seasons. A real bad omen that, when a leprechaun smell can be sniffed back to one man.
Local multi millionaire rumoured to be taking over the ‘blighted’ Four Seasons project – Click to read tender on the sale of Four Seasons Property
It is good to read about government’s effort to wrestle the Four Seasons beast to the ground – finally. It maybe tactical to have placed the tender in this weekend’s press which is sure to go unnoticed by many Barbadians who are gearing up to party in the last lap for Crop Over 2013.
All discerning Barbadians look forward to full disclosure promised by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on this matter. Until he does Barbadians will begin to speculate about whether Ansa Merchant Bank has called the $120 million guarantee and the implication. It seems like a long time ago the late David Thompson went to parliament to validate the Clearwater Barbados Guarantee which was meant to kickstart the project. The media has reported the tender is meant to give the appearance of transparency. Given government’s hands-on approach to managing the project, it begs the question whither Project Manager and Chairman Avinash Persaud who was requested by the late David Thompson to retrieve the project?
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 Blogging, Tourism
Tagged Almond Resourts, ARI, Bajan News, Blogging, Caricom News, 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?
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Barbados, Barbados Business, Barbados Government, Blogging, Caribbean, Caricom News, Four Seasons, Greece, Greece Bailout, Local Politics, Paradise Beach Development
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
Posted in Blogging, Tourism
Tagged Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Government, Blogging, Caribbean, Caricom News, Four Seasons, NIS, NIS Investment Committee, Paradise Beach Development
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 Blogging
Tagged Avinash Persaud, Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Underground News, Blogging, Caribbean, Caricom 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.