Following Grenada’s Business Facilitation Script

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon. Tillman Thomas recently described the purchase of the former La Source by Sandals as ‘a potential game-changer for our tourism industry’. He went on to say, the entry of resort company Sandals to Grenada’s market is ‘a tide that could lift all boats’. I think he is right, perhaps in more ways that we can initially anticipate. What is remarkable about this ‘deal’ is the timing, which must make it at least a candidate for the quickest hotel acquisition ever in the Guinness Book of Records.

It was reported that La Source only closed around the 19th October, when 150 workers were laid-off. Yet, within three weeks the Government of Grenada ‘facilitated their (Sandals) investment with a package of incentives’. While other administrations around the region hesitated, procrastinated and some may even imply, might have adopted a form of hibernation akin to prolonged sleep. Perhaps galvanized by the negative consequences of revenue and employment losses and the danger of possibly losing airlift, someone picked up the phone and made the move.

Among the immediate benefits of the arrangement are, massive media destination awareness coverage, reaching millions of people worldwide without it costing the Grenada Board of Tourism a single cent. With a projected re-opening date of 15th December 2012, it will give a huge boost to the upcoming critical winter season. Many loyal Sandals clients will also want to sample the brand, in a new and exciting location. And as PM Tillman so astutely observed, was pleased at the ‘promise of the transfer of skills to Grenadians and an improvement of service in the industry’.

Sandals founder Gordon “Butch’ Stewart has indicated his intention to take the re-named Sandals La Source Grenada Resort and Spa from its current 100 rooms up to 265 guest rooms, private cottages and bungalows over the course of the next ten years. Many of which will be concierge and butler level including the brand’s signature Rondoval suites. As this happens, employment will grow and there will be a positive trickle down effect on the entire local economy.

Mr. Stewart wasted no time with an announcement and images already posted on the corporate website for the travel trade and consumers all to see around the globe. It appears a total win-win situation for everybody and kudos should naturally go to all those involved who made it possible.

It is difficult not to draw a comparison with the Almond Beach Village situation, where seven months after closure with the loss of nearly five hundred jobs, no happy conclusion seems to be in sight. Already we are suffering the negative effects of reduced airlift and as further time goes by, it will become even more difficult to re-open the property in its rapidly deteriorating condition.

If it gets to a point where upgrading the existing plant becomes nonviable, we all know just how long it would take to re-build and open a superior alternative. For those that can recall, Almond Casuarina provided a classic example of that scenario.

0 responses to “Following Grenada’s Business Facilitation Script

  1. I don’t like the terms of the Grenada agreement with Stewart. A tax holiday for 25 years is practically unheard of. Ten years max on property tax and reduced corp. taxes would be more reasonable. Seven year tax holiday on consumers goods to allow a good start-up, or duty free imports of furniture, furnishings and fixtures, yes.

    All of this freeness just to give some Grenadians some low paying service jobs. I cant believe it. Something similar to what was given to Sandy Lane would be more reasonable. I am sure it was not 25 years.

    I would not recommend this to any Minister. In fact, I probably would have been fired if I did. It is a hotel, but it is a business just like any other. The rich are getting richer from this deal.

    What about the private beach? Did he get that too? Poor Grenadians.

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  2. MEDIA ALERT

    MAJOR PRESS CONFERENCE

    WHAT: TOURISM PROJECTIONS FOR THE WINTER SEASON 2012/2013; MARKETING INITIATIVES GOING FORWARD; OUTCOMES FROM RECENTLY CONCLUDED WORLD TRAVEL MARKET, inter alia.

    WHO: HOSTED AND LED BY HON RICHARD SEALY, MP, MINISTER OF TOURISM.

    WHEN: 10A.M, WEDNESDAY 21ST NOVEMBER, 2012

    WHERE: CONFERENCE ROOM, 3RD FLOOR, OCEAN 2 HOTEL, ST.LAWRENCE GAP, CH CH.

    WHY: THE CONTINUATION OF CONVERSATIONS WITH BARBADIANS TO KEEP ALL STAKEHOLDERS ABREAST OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THE TOURISM SECTOR.

    MEDIA HOUSES ARE KINDLY INVITED TO COVER

    LIGHT REFRESHEMNTS WILL BE PROVIDED

    Hugh Foster
    Ministry of Tourism

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  3. can one in imagine the amount of money in taxes butch going into put in his pocket by the time he finished counting he would be able to purchase the tiny island .and in addition get the hotel for no cost when all the additional incentives are incluided ,low classprostitution on the govts part.

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  4. Do you guys understand what 40% unemployment can do to a country? Do you know Grenada has been struggling to service its debt of late?

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  5. @ David
    “Do you guys understand what 40% unemployment can do to a country?”
    ***********
    Yes! …makes it harder to keep one’s pride.
    It can make prostitution look quite attractive. But there are some persons who will have no problem with that…

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  6. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | November 20, 2012 at 6:39 PM |

    Why don’t you stop attacking Butch Stewart? Is it because he is “white creole” foreigner from Jamaica?
    Why are you so much against enterprise and business?
    Instead of criticising Butch’s investment efforts in the Eastern Caribbean why don’t you ask Chris Sinckler and the PM when will the Four Seasons project be restarted.
    We have a vandalised derelict Sam Lord’s Castle in the East are we going to have a graveyard of steel and concrete in the West too?
    Maybe the spirits of the Ameridians have retaliated for the disturbance and unearthing done to their ancestors’ graves and former habitat.

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  7. hey miller my crticism of grenada govt strikes a raw nerve or is it because it comes across as the same bogus plans that the blp has for the country of barbados by a having a fire sale on the peoples assets to settle debt.

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  8. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | November 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM |

    Forget about the BLP for now.
    What about the Four Seasons restart project? Why has the DLP gone silent on this project? Is it because the IADB has backed off until the restructuring aka privatization of certain sections and agencies in the public sector is undertaken?

    If Butch were to take it over and agree to finish it but under the Sandals Brand (as he wanted to do with the old Paradise Resort) would you object and call it a fireside sale and selling off our national assets to foreigners thus denting our pride and selling out the industry?

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  9. If Butch were to take it over and agree to finish it but under the Sandals Brand (as he wanted to do with the old Paradise Resort) would you object and call it a fireside sale and selling off our national assets to foreigners thus denting our pride and selling out the industry?

    ac

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  10. miller if butch comes in and take over sure but at what price to the taxpayers,, i can imagine another deal in which the taxpayers would have to pay a long term subsizies disguise as incentives for years to come and govt footing the bail out when the profit margins take a nose dive another form of socialism for the rich and capitailism for the poor.

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  11. @ac

    It is for Grenadians to approve/accept what is right for them.

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  12. This is a region heavily leveraged with debt, there is no wriggle room for many of our islands. In case some have forgotten Grenanda has defaulted on government treasuries in the past. Our little islands have milked the models which have served them well in the past but it is time for equilibrium to take place. We have been living above our means.

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  13. The govts of grenadaand jamaica has been failures and all that is happening now exposes their failures and as aresult the taxpayers having to foot the bill and fix it uppers schemes ofof the rich in a govt effortof hoping to retrieve financial assests and in some cases where thes schemes fail the taxpayer again is/looked upon for help in bailing out these entities when they are unable of deliver the pie in the sky promises offered to them by government and private deals the sandals exuma is an example.

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  14. david my pointof concern is about goverance and by that peoples involvement is/critical in the final outconme allowing the people to know what parts of the negotiations/are favourable to people and country and not a closed shop approach on the one promise of jobs.

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  15. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | November 21, 2012 at 6:26 AM |
    “.. i can imagine another deal in which the taxpayers would have to pay a long term subsizies disguise as incentives for years to come and govt footing the bail out when the profit margins take a nose dive another form of socialism for the rich and capitailism for the poor.”

    Ac, are you forgetting that the government is administered by the DLP?
    Are you saying that DLP will sell out the taxpayers and screw the poor people of Barbados?
    Don’t you have faith in your party or are you expecting such a scenario of giving in to Butch’s demands to occur under an incoming BLP administration just around the corner?

    Surely the Four Seasons situation can’t go on for another 5 years whichever party is in power. Maybe you have written off the restart of that Four Season project. Since it started under OSA you can always blame its failure on him. Is that OK with you ac? Just blame OSA and his 14 years of mismanagement for the Four Seasons fiasco.

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  16. Four season not going to go on for ever nor will it be left to die a slow death and also it would not to given away to the modern day one armed bandits with boldness and cunning motives

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  17. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | November 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM |

    Oh dearest ac, the Soothsayer of BU, please look into your crystal ball and tell us what’s in store for the Four Seasons. Will it be another Spring leading Summer or most likely Winter since it is right now in its Fall.

    Who will rescue the project?
    Will it be the failed quack professore a contratto e peripatetico Persaud?

    What about the IADB cum NIS investment fishing bait?
    Will we see major re-structuring aka privatization demanded by the IMF before IADB commercial paper money is poured down the drain of a sinkhole defined as full of junk by the rating agencies?

    Like

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