Chester Francis-Jackson, Gleaner Writer
Negril, on the western end of the island, is definitely the party and leisure capital of the Caribbean. It was made so by its famous seven-mile white-sand beach, quaint and somewhat risqué, West End; and even more so Hedonism II All-Inclusive Resort, with its racy parties and fun-themed packages giving new life and meaning to what was fast becoming a moribund tourism product!
Interestingly enough, while Negril has seen a boom of sorts in its housing stock, this has been in the capacity of providing housing for tourism workers. Developers have been largely ignoring its high-end residential appeal as an ideally suited destination for vacation homes for the international jet-setters.
Well my dears, that is all set to change, as on Saturday March 12, real estate developer Robert Cartade officially broke grounds for his new housing development - The Little Bay Country Club - slated to be a high-end housing development, boasting a mix of villas, condominiums and studios. It will be in a gated enclave, designed to reflect the resort lifestyle with its own private beaches, clubhouse and panoramic view of Negril, the hills of Hanover and Westmoreland and the sprawling Caribbean Sea.
Cartade is no stranger to fabulous housing developments as his last, Long Mountain Country Club, neighbouring Beverly Hills, in St Andrew, will attest. His success as a developer, however, has made them the most sought-after housing complexes in recent history, as they have not only established a track record of creating fabulous homes, he has made them solid investments for purchasers. Those homes would in instances nearly double in price within a year or so.
So my dears, no surprises that Cartade's country clubs have been attracting a real-estate speculators, who buy up these properties and then offer them for resale.
Anyway my dears, for the groundbreaking launch of his latest development, Cartade hosted what was a smart little midday picnic last Saturday that was as chic as it was happening!
Luvs, Margaritaville Negril took the catering honours and they not only put on a marvellous fare, there was nothing but premium libations on offer. And then there were the guests! Dears, a turnout of socialites and movers and shakers, with a sprinkling of international visitors who jetted in for the occasion!
Dears, it was a charming affair as ever with Negril being the first choice of a destination for many an international visitor and national alike; and a slew of social and business luminaries in attendance, y'all know we are talking a charmer here!
The Negril Country Club will be situated just north of Negril proper, with the RIU Hotel and Resort as its neighbour across the sea, the 23 and a third acres will boast 171 units, in an eco-friendly setting, that will be a joy to behold in terms of landscaping and amenities, making it the preferred residential address in Negril.
Well my dears, if it was the intention of the developer to woo potential purchasers, then he was masterful in setting the stage. The picturesque location; the picnicstyled fare and libations, guests dressed to thrill, many with chequebooks, gold, platinum and black Visa cards in hand, one could forgive those who came out as if dressed for a safari!
But anyway my dears, we are talking a buzzing afternoon here, and luvs, how.
To be sure there was an official dedication and opening ceremony, but mercifully this was an informative and instructive interlude and not one of pontificating officials, causing unease to guests with their long-winded sense of importance.
Official interlude aside, gentlemen and ladies of style from the east, west, north and south in attendance, it was all about celebrating the launch.
And, talk about laying it on!!
Dears, it was truly a fab experience for potential purchasers. Representatives of the developers were on hand providing guided tours; representatives from mortgage brokers, bankers; cable; Internet; and mobile and landline providers were on hand, not only sensitising clients to their services but also providing guests with keepsakes.
Sharing the occasion were Water and Housing Minister Dr Horace Chang; Opposition MP Ian Hayles; former MP Russell Hammond; reverend Father Jim Bok; the lovely Joy Douglas of the Urban Development Corporation; president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Carey Wallace, and his wife, Charlotte Wallace; Trevion Manning, of the Hanover Parish Council; Viralee Latibeaudiere; National Environment and Planning Agency's Allison Pearce; former high-fashion designer and model, Carole Issa Cartade and their son Sebastian Cartade, who jetted in from Texas, for the occasion; her siblings retail mogul and head of the Couples, Resorts Lee Issa his sibling the fab Suzanne Issa; legal luminary Chris Bovell and his fab wife, Michelle; socialites Anthony and Jeanne Watson and son James; Montego Bay powerhouse Mark Kerr-Jarrett; Robin DeLisser; glamour-puss Cecile Levee; Richard Fontaine and his fab daughter Martine; Steven Ueker and wife the fabulous Ann Chen Ueker; Robert Stephenson; Joe and Laura Aducci; LIME's Gary Sinclair, and his team of Camille Taylor, David Cover, Edward Gabbidon.
We spotted bankers Andrew Cocking; Patrick Peart, Audley Knight, Kevin Sunarth, hoteliers Brian Sang, Gary Stevens, Ricardo Bowleg, the charming Karen Lannigan; Kathy Gavin; a simply stunning Novlet Green; Paul Barbar and the lovely Kemesha Walters; Vincent and Jean Gaynair; Tommy Lyew; Grace Lee Mang; Conrad and Edith Pinnock, out of New York; and the lovely Pauline Edie, who kept it all buzzing.
Photos by Janet Silvera