New investors for St Vincent hotel closed since 2016
The St Vincent & the Grenadines government says a trio of investors are taking over the Buccament Bay Resort, which has been closed since December 2016.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that the investors have already signed the heads of terms of agreement 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 them 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. Glass also owns Blue Lagoon, a hotel in Ratho Mill on St Vincent's southwestern coast.
"So he and his group will be among the leading hoteliers, if not the leading hotelier in the country," the PM said.
Regarding Buccament Bay, Gonsalves said more discussions were needed with the new investors regarding the land on which a portion of the resort sits and that another meeting was scheduled for Friday.
"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 court evidence in a lawsuit that the resort owners had brought against a previous service provider.
"We do some tidying up on some things. Hopefully, we can come to some financial conclusions about a couple matters between the investors and the state on Friday morning," the PM said. 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.
Buccament Bay 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 its electricity bill. This followed several weeks of protest by workers over the non-payment of wages.