Update On Almond Beach Village Anyone?

Hotel mongul Butch Stewart has his eyes on Almond Beach Club

One of the unforgiving characteristics of this Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government has been its reluctance to communicate to a public which yearns for information. Surely if there is one group in society who has a right to know how its government is treating with issues, it is the taxpayers. Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart’s taciturn nature has indelibly labelled the legacy of his Cabinet. On the eve of a general election it is unlikely public perception will change.

Of the myriad of issues which this government continues to wrestle -thrown up by the global economy – ordinary citizens have the capacity to understand that this is a difficult time to govern. Surely one way the Stuart government can allay the anxiety of citizens is to feed them relevant information. A reasonable assumption must be that disseminating information to the population is a prerequisite of a democracy.

One of the many issues which is of concern is the status of the sale of Almond Beach Village. Since April this year it was reported that several buyers were short listed by the owners Neal & Massy and a decision was promised in weeks to inform the winning purchaser. It is several months later and we are still waiting. Given the significant contribution to GDP which the Almond Beach property generated, the Opposition and others had suggested to government at the time that it was a company which should have been labelled too big to fail. The public was advised by Minister Richard Sealy the government would play its part to pave the way for a smooth sale of Almond Beach Village. It appears that Sealy has been emulating Stuart because he has been very silent of late.

BU is on record throwing support to Butch Stewart sealing the deal for Almond. The power of the Sandals/Beaches brand cannot be ignored. The mega-millions which Butch throws into the marketing budget is the punch which has been missing from the national effort of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) to date.

BU understands from Check-This-Out, a BU family member who keeps us apprised of what is happening in the Canadian media, Sandals had a new half page advertisement in the Globe & Mail on Thursday: Banner says “Travel Agents Know Best – the body is a message from Gordon “Butch Stewart”  about “Certified Sandals Specialists”. Also in Globe and Mail yesterday – a full page St Vincent & Grenadine advertisement (have not seen before); and Barbados had a small boxing Westjet ad. Not to forget St. Lucia which seems to be our direct competitor of late.

According to Check-this-Out he following article which appeared in a Canadian publication six months ago remains relevant:

Excuse me, dahrlings, but…That Butch Is So… Butch

There are 2 things I have learned in life, Pumpkins. One, virgins should never attend prison rodeos. Two, when Butch Stewart sets his sights on something – get out of the way. The man knows how to mount a marketing coup. And believe me, dahrlings, I’ve sashayed in front of his telescope on many occasions hoping for a mounting.

(Unfortunately, he always shoos me away and tells Adam to get the transvestite off the property.)

And so, with the Almond Beach Village turning up toasted, the golden boy of Jamaica has his eye on Barbados again. And why not? The Stewart passion lies in expansion – and Barbados is ripe for the taking. And giving, I would imagine.

The man cannot be contained. He is spreading his brand all over the Caribbean. I love a business success story, Pumpkins. Fortitude. Sweat. Followed by customer satisfaction.

Butch, don’t leave me like this… send me a car wrapper! Or maybe a butler.

What is happening with the Almond property, Sealy, Stuart? Barbadians anticipate a status report from the Governor of the Central Bank in the third quarter review, please!

Related links:

Special thanks to Check-This-Out

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No Comments on “Update On Almond Beach Village Anyone?”

  1. Adrian Loveridge October 21, 2012 at 8:30 AM #

    It hasn’t really been discussed publicly a lot but one of my main concerns is airlift. We have lost Philadelphia, Atlanta and most recently Dallas. This is perhaps where having a Sandals (or Beaches) would make the biggest difference and help raise the profile or Barbados.

    Like

  2. David October 21, 2012 at 8:44 AM #

    It is a democracy, we deserve to KNOW!

    Like

  3. millertheanunnaki October 21, 2012 at 8:47 AM #

    These are the kind of issues that our local ‘Stuart’ the once sleeping political giant of a “Femme” should be addressing now he is awake. His lack of communication on important national matters (a defect in character whether contrived or congenital) will be his undoing as a leader of this country and indeed of a once great political organization.

    Instead of talking of fighting the beast of Ephesus in the form of the OSA ghost he should be informing the people about what lies ahead and how his administration intends to deal with such matters as the Almond Resort, Four Seasons and CLICO. The future of the country’s economy is at a crossroad and we need to get some guidance and direction from the leader.

    Promoting a football tournament and the damaged memory of a dead crook and liar will not do at this stage. Leave that to the responsible Minister and Mara Thompson including the funding of that tournament.

    Like

  4. David October 21, 2012 at 8:48 AM #

    A little more about the people behind Sandals:

    Leaders In Luxury
    Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Chairman and Founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Chairman and Founder
    Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Chairman and Founder

    and Kevin Froemming, President Sandals

    Think about the upper echelons of luxury resorts and names like Banyan Tree, Six Senses, One&Only, Aman and Four Seasons probably come to mind. However Sandals Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart believes his company is ready to take its place among the best of the best, with some 20 resorts across the Bahamas, his homeland Jamaica, Antigua and St. Lucia. During a recent stopover in New York City, the founder and his President, Kevin Froemming, met with Elite Traveler Editor-in-Chief Douglas Gollan at the Jumeirah Essex House to make their case.

    Like

  5. David October 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM #

    There is consensus among key stakeholders that the hole left by Almond in our tourism strategy musters national attention. The citizens have a vest interest in the solution. Our lives and our children are wrapped up in the outcome. For us to be guessing what is happening is not good enough. It is a private sale byt government’s role is obviously critical to nailing a deal.

    Like

  6. millertheanunnaki October 21, 2012 at 9:17 AM #

    @ David | October 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM |

    One of the ‘holdups’ to the Almond resort takeover by Butch is the same that plagued the Paradise Beach Resort.

    Sandals wants exclusivity including the beach and a casino with major tax concessions.
    Another reason why our molasses decision-making boss needs to call elections next month to obtain a fresh mandate to concede these demands before year end.

    The DLP supporters will change their minds about selling off and out Barbados all in the need for FDI to save the country from economic ruin cause by OSA’s 14 years of mismanagement, corruption and economic prostitution by selling off Bim to foreign interests.
    These fields and hills and now beaches once beyond recall is still NOT our very own in order to get forex to buy Japanese SUV’s and imported processed food.

    Like

  7. BIG WOOD October 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM #

    PILFERAGE

    Like

  8. David October 21, 2012 at 9:50 AM #

    Posted by Anthony on another blog. We need decisive positions. Hopefully with an election on the horizon we will see a quickening on this front.

    Well even if the Central Bank decides not to release the 9 month report on on it normal release date ( Might be due to MoF being out of the island) BSS still release the Previous 6 month Unemployment number and Inflation report. Inflation now stand at 8.4% on a twelve month average and unemployment at 12.5%.

    http://www.barstats.gov.bb/files/documents/IRP_Bulletin_June_2012.pdf

    http://www.barstats.gov.bb/files/documents/LFS_Bulletin_2Q2012.pdf

    Like

  9. Just stating the obvious.... October 21, 2012 at 10:02 AM #

    Government is not the major shareholder in Almond Beach, why do you place the expectation of disclosure on Stuart in this one? If we were talking about Paradise, well yes we are due for an update given that through NIS we are a shareholder (apparently).

    This would seem to be a transaction between Neal and Massey and the buyer. The meetings probably would not even be conducted in Barbados.

    Like

  10. David October 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM #

    @Just Stating the obvious

    Please don’t take us for fools. There will be no deal unless government is at the table because concessions will be a part of the deal. Didn’t Minister of Finance Sinckler declare in parliament that he would be meeting with Butch Stewart shortly? That was weeks ago.

    Like

  11. millertheanunnaki October 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM #

    @ Just stating the obvious…. | October 21, 2012 at 10:02 AM |

    It is Cabinet ministers in the form of Sealy and Sinckler who made commitments to get these important projects sorted out. The PM has also gave his two cents worth of promise to resolve these matters in a timely manner.

    In any event the Almond resort outcome will still require State approval of any new operation.
    BTW, do you know if Almond has any outstanding statutory financial obligations still to be met like NIS PAYE, land tax?

    Like

  12. Anthony October 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM #

    @millertheanunnaki

    He could get the casino but he would never get the beach. DLP own supporter would rake them over coals even AC and CCC

    While Sandals brand would do the best their where two other bidder as well. I would give my support for Doyle secondaryily if Butch don’t come thru as he already know what the business is needs and how to get it there.

    Like

  13. David October 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM #

    @Miller

    Let us not quibble if we agree both numbers fall on the range which all the statisticians agree is allowable. Especially when the sample is suspect.

    On the other point, what better way to convince the people from the rating agency than to sit across the table?

    Like

  14. millertheanunnaki October 21, 2012 at 10:59 AM #

    @ David | October 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM |

    We can only agree on any margin of error when the politics are removed from the statistical equation. Why did the governor superimpose his figures on those of the agency responsible and technically equipped to manage the process? We have every right to quibble. The governor was wrong. He was put in his place by the IMF and made to eat humble pie. He did indeed apologize too the BSS but did not do it public because of his oversized ego.

    Let us see the unemployment figures collected during the 2010 census and we can move from there. You couldn’t want a better “sample” than that, can you now Mr. Stats.

    The governor had the opportunity to convince the rating agencies when they visited Barbados before issuing their reports and downgrading our status. They were not impressed with his version of things.

    What he and others are on this visit this time is not to convince the rating agencies but to lay out the begging bowl and ask for less bitter medicine for the pending restructuring of the local economy. Devaluation or Dismissal of 10,000 is the IMF offer: Deal or no deal, Barbados the decision is yours, Guv!

    BTW, the MoF is seen as a joker and buffoon figurehead among this pack of IMF and other technocrats.

    Like

  15. David October 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM #

    When one looks at the Sandals’ operation portrayed in the video all can be said is WOW!

    Like

  16. millertheanunnaki October 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM #

    @ Anthony | October 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM |

    If the DLP give Butch a “private’ beach the DLP supporters, especially Ac and CCC would sell their souls of their dead mothers to the devil before publicly opposing such a move. Ac would even attempt to blame OSA for causing Barbados to be in such serious economic predicament that it is forcing the DLP to sell the country’s remaining assets just to survive and to keep imported food on the table.

    Barbados, now unemployed and unable to earn foreign income, no longer has any say over its remaining asset; that is the sea and sand.
    Like a true ‘paro’ Barbados will sell even her last revealing bikini or worn underwear to any perverted ‘john’ just to get a few foreign dollars to feed its ‘imported’ consumption habit.
    Just look at how the beggars have gone to seek forgiveness from the IMF and rating agencies for their crass verbal indiscretions and hoping to get a piece of change ( US$ 33 million) from the loan sharks to feed the country’s forex drug habit.

    My preference is to give Sandals the Almond and Doyle take over the Four Seasons & Paradise Villas in partnership with COW & Simpson.

    Like

  17. Gabriel Tackle October 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM #

    @Miller
    I agree that the Almonds,Beach and Village should go to Doyle who has a good local track record.No private beaches in Buhbaydus.The casino thing has got to have public approval and will not get it.A private casino for guests only should do it.One cannot promise that the evil spinoffs of casino will not affect the locals.It’s a moot point,and some US jurisdictions have regretted going the casino route.
    Caribbean Airlines,in 2007 when known as Bwee, pulled out of NY,Toronto,Miami and London routes For near 54 years Bwee brought the majority of tourists and the bajan diaspora and friends to our country.It should be a priority of the next government to bring back this carrier to the plant.
    Redjet should similarly be reinstated to fly to the Caribbean and South and Central America.

    Like

  18. millertheanunnaki October 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM #

    @ Gabriel Tackle | October 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM |

    I respect your pseudo-Christian perspective and traditional Bajan moral expectations fashioned in a social crucible of 50’s 60’s Barbados. Maybe I say maybe, you don’t know the behaviour of a true drug addict aka in local parlance “paro”. Paro Barbados will sell anything and prostitute its body of high morality just for a forex fix.

    Can you imagine unemployable Bim needing to feed a burning overpowering consumption habit? We can’t borrow from overseas anymore. Not even T&T is prepared to give us an overdraft.

    Tell us how this modern generation of materialistic vipers would survive the self-sacrificing and making-ends-meet conditions that prevailed in the era(s) you were raised in.

    Like

  19. Hants October 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM #

    Does anyone know if Butch Stewart’s Jamaican hotels get subsidies from the Jamaican Government?

    Like

  20. David October 21, 2012 at 4:02 PM #

    @Hants

    In Jamaica they have the Hotel Incentives Act.

    http://www.jtbonline.org/tourism_jamaica/Major%20Tourism%20Laws/Hotel%20(Incentive)%20Act.pdf

    Like

  21. Barbados Underground Talkshop October 21, 2012 at 4:25 PM #

    Our choice – the devil or the deep blue sea…….

    Like

  22. Hants October 21, 2012 at 4:33 PM #

    I bet Butch Stewart would build a Sandals in Barbados if he could build it with a Private Beach and if he could have the same level of support and concessions he gets from the Government of Jamaica.

    However the bigger question is when will Bajans accept that Tourism is a great business but too risky to continue using it as the main forex earner.

    Time for the brainiacs who make policy and direct the economy of Barbados to accelerate their programs. That is if there are any brainiacs left or they all hiding out in the UK,USA and Canada.

    Like

  23. Hants October 21, 2012 at 4:37 PM #

    David do our incentives compare to Jamaica’s?

    Like

  24. David October 21, 2012 at 4:43 PM #

    @Hants

    There is a divide which separates Jamaicans and Bajans and it is the entrepreneurship drive they seem to be born with. On the flip side the orderliness which Barbadians are known for has dissipated

    Like

  25. ac October 21, 2012 at 4:56 PM #

    how many bajans spend time to fact check any thing .almost a year ago allegations were level at butch about subsidises and other controversial issues about employment of jamaicans he fired back through the courts but lost. a news article recently stated that Sandals of Bahamas (Exuma) is looking for govt help. bajans see things through rose coloured glasses never like to know the truth that is why the media remains in the state that it is it knows full well that the truth to bajans is well like……

    Like

  26. David October 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM #

    @Hants

    It is difficult to say. An industry expert would have to list the pros and cons.

    Like

  27. Hants October 21, 2012 at 5:19 PM #

    @ac

    My questions were to look at how Barbados could get a Sandals without giving them a private beach.

    Paul Altman’s idea to build an off shore Island is great but would require a couple billion $.

    Note that Four Seasons just opened a new Hotel in Toronto (259 hotel rooms and 210 high-end condos). A penthouse was sold for $28million cad.

    Makes me wonder why Four Seasons Barbados can’t get off the ground.

    Like

  28. Hants October 21, 2012 at 5:21 PM #

    David maybe the BU industry expert Adrian Loveridge can answer.

    Like

  29. ac October 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM #

    hants
    Does anyone know if Butch Stewart’s Jamaican hotels get subsidies from the Jamaican Government?

    ac maybe i was wrong but i am assuming that was your comment or question to which i reply. btw don.t expect to see butch purchase almond he strikes a hard bargain almost for free he purchased sandals ” whitehouse”of jamaica for 40million a project which had cost the govt 120millin and also the land for about 6million.

    Like

  30. Hants October 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM #

    ac the new norm is for business to lobby Government for every concession and subsidy they can get.

    Butch is a successful businessman who is using the same lobbying tactics that are used in the capitalist world.

    Like

  31. Anthony October 21, 2012 at 5:59 PM #

    @Hants

    Fours seasons company is technically a franchise brand. They get investors to build the hotel and then they get their name on it. Fours seasons then overseas the management so that is kept on par as the other properties. What has happen here is the people bankrolling the project lost funding. When to government to pay off debt. Still can’t find new investors. Went and got NIS and IDB to bankroll them and still have not started back. If i was to hazard to guess why it hasn’t started, the co finance bank for the remaining funding of four season hasn’t signed on or IDB due diligence in selecting the contractor is still to be completed.

    Like

  32. ac October 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM #

    ac the new norm is for business to lobby Government for every concession and subsidy they can get.

    but not at the expense of the taxpayers govt has a responsibilty to the people first and not giving it all to business, where does taxpayer benefit in allof this besides job. if it means giving away the cap and the bottle for one job how does that help the country, butch looks out for butch and the govt must look out for the people as well.

    Like

  33. Hants October 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM #

    ac wrote “govt must look out for the people as well.”

    And Investors have to look out for themselves and their shareholders.

    Like

  34. Cruel October 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM #

    ac | October 21, 2012 at 4:56 PM |
    how many bajans spend time to fact check any thing .

    Very few when one checks on the bariffle of crap millertheanunnaki shites out on bu everyday more than two thirds of his/her/it posts are unvarnished lies. When short me crutch Owen takes over I’m looking for my share of gold on the streets immediately. After all annuaki regales us with tales of the white rum man super genius, a semi midget who can solve instantly every socio economic problem besetting us caused by molasses man.

    Like

  35. millertheanunnaki October 21, 2012 at 7:09 PM #

    @ Cruel | October 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM |

    THE ANUNNAKI WILL NEVER LIE, CHEAT OR STEAL.

    Sounds cruelly familiar? After all Leroy Parris is my pal and I am just taking those BIPA jackasses for another ride.

    Like

  36. ac October 21, 2012 at 7:11 PM #

    ac wrote “govt must look out for the people as well.”

    hants
    And Investors have to look out for themselves and their shareholders.

    ac @ hants
    thank god you not in any position to influence govt policy cause from your comment one knows who would get the biggest share of the pie. however we the people are also investors and directs govt by our approval or disapproval on issues, but we will not be happy campers sitting idlly by and lets govt take us for granted with your attitude that can easily happen

    Like

  37. islandgal246 October 22, 2012 at 7:39 AM #

    David I think you meant the Almond Beach Village and not the Club. Well the update is as follows:
    The grass has been cut and some maintenance to the grounds is being done. I do hope that they clean it up properly because if you are selling a product or property a better price can be had if it is presentable looking.

    Like

  38. David October 22, 2012 at 8:38 AM #

    @islandgal

    Thanks for the catch!

    Like

  39. Check-This-Out October 22, 2012 at 10:08 AM #

    Check out page page 12 in the Advocate today

    Like

  40. Roverp October 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM #

    I am all for more local ownership of our tourism to change the leakage rate situation here in Barbados. We have had those opportunies but the employing of poor management and management systems have lead to the demise of some of these local properties. We have too many experts in tourism that do not speak to the real issues.

    Like

  41. Fedup October 22, 2012 at 7:28 PM #

    This DLP Government led by the one and only Fruendel have gotten too big (no pun intended) and foolish thinking they can say what they like when they like and bajans will believe them. Fruendel gets on like on of thoses rulers from the old British Empire who will come out of their castle once in awhile and say little of nothing and expect the peasants to bow down to him. Not so Fruendel. We deserve better. If you don’t like people and like to talk to people stay in St Philip.. Don’t bother to come town

    Like

  42. Margaret King November 24, 2012 at 3:40 PM #

    Is it really a fact that he wanted a private beach? I’ve heard varying stories. I know none of Sandals’ properties (Sandals, Beaches, or Grand Pineapple resorts) are on private beaches in none of the islands. Only Fowl Cay comes close, as it’s on a private island.

    I would love Almond Beach Village to be under Bajan ownership, but as a travel agent, I know what Butch Stewart can do to a property once he gets his hands on it. We call it Sandalizing a property. It would be something unlike what Barbados has ever seen.

    Here are updates on Sandals LaSource (from Sandals): http://www.sandals.com/grenada/index.cfm?referral=105928

    Sandals owned resorts are gorgeous properties. You really have to see them to believe it. They look fabulous on TV, but that doesn’t compare to seeing the properties in person. Any time any of you are ready to see a Sandals property, give me a call. :)

    I wish they’d hurry up and make the decision already.

    Mag
    Bridgetown Travel

    Like

  43. Hants November 24, 2012 at 3:55 PM #

    David you own Bridgetown Travel ?

    Like

  44. David November 24, 2012 at 10:46 PM #

    @Hants

    No :-)

    Like

  45. Margaret King November 25, 2012 at 8:19 AM #

    Hants, I am the owner of Bridgetown Travel.

    Mag

    Like

  46. Bush Tea November 25, 2012 at 8:29 AM #

    I know what Butch Stewart can do to a property once he gets his hands on it.
    ***********
    So the problem at Paradise is that he did NOT get his hands on it….?

    Like

  47. ac November 25, 2012 at 8:45 AM #

    PR for butch!

    Like

  48. Margaret King November 25, 2012 at 9:37 AM #

    Actually, I don’t know much about Paradise. Maybe you can tell me what happened there.

    Like

  49. Margaret King November 25, 2012 at 9:48 AM #

    I just found this updated story. Seems like they are (or may be) closer to a buyer: http://the-trident.com/forum/index.php?/topic/16894-bite-at-almond/

    Like

  50. Margaret King November 29, 2012 at 7:02 AM #

    In the news today:
    Name of Almond owner ‘soon’ – http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/name-of-almond-owner-soon/

    Like

  51. Victor Meldrew December 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM #

    I used to love staying at the Village. I’ve been there 5 times. But from the Uk Barbados has become an even more expensive place to visit because of the UK’s Air Passenger Duty. Because of the way the bandings of this duty work, it costs less in duty to fly from the UK to Hawaii, than to Barbados. So there are external factors at work, besides any internal factors. I have to say that managment at the Village was poor, facilities tired, and extras overpriced. Clearly marketing of the property was poor as occupancy rates had fallen. Cruise liners nearly always sail full, because the operators realise that an occupied cabin yeilds on borad revenue, while empty ones don’t. So long as a room is let at a rate which covers variable costs (like food and drink in an inclusive hotel) then anything else you get is at least some contribution towards the fixed costs – and thus long term losses are minimised or eliminated. Clearly Almond beach Inc were not up to the job of managing their hotels, and clearly took too long to address the problems. But why Barbadians think its the Government’s job to sort out the mess is beyond me – the private sector takes the risks and the profits; they also accept the losses. The job of the Government is to create the right conditions for growth, not to run everything themselves. Visit Cuba if you want to see where such an ideology takes a country and I’ll tell you this for free – you wouldn’t like it.

    Like

  52. David December 14, 2012 at 2:49 PM #

    @Victor

    Thanks for your comment. The debate is a divided one but what we know is that given the importance of tourism to the national economy government MUST play a leadership role. The question then becomes: is the private sector doing enough?

    Like

  53. Victor Meldrew December 15, 2012 at 3:43 PM #

    The private sector’s primary motive is to make profits, and when conditions are thought to be right, the private sector will invest in anticipation of making those profits. If the private sector isn’t willing to invest (3 bidders for the village suggests they are!) then that suggests the conditions are not right – many economies are flatlining now, so investing in tourism which is a largely discretionary area of personal expenditure might be considered rather risky. But if you take a longer term view then you might think that the world economic situation is starting to improve, and starting the investment in the village property might be sensible. When it will start to see guests again is another matter.Building will create jobs for some in the short term, but will not bring foreign currencies to Barbados as guests would. Perhaps the government can do more to make the conditions better, but not at the expense of unsupported borrowing. The economies of the southern meditteranean countries show what happens if your government debt to GDP figure gets too high.

    Like

  54. Cop April 26, 2013 at 11:55 PM #

    Freundel is a big F….C…T!! He needs to get the hell out his office and see what’s happening! His stupidity is congenital. Is the typical F….. Bajan stubborn old man!! F.YOU!!

    Like

  55. Wilfredo September 13, 2013 at 4:14 AM #

    Hi, I’m new to running a blog and websites in general and was wanting to know how
    you got the “www” included in your domain name? I see your domain, “http://bajan.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/update-on-almond-beach-village-anyone/” has the www and my web address looks like, “http://mydomain.com”.
    Do you know the simplest way I can alter this? I’m using WordPress platform.
    Thank you so much

    Like

  56. Due Diligence September 13, 2013 at 11:33 AM #

    Thanx to Wifredo for bringing this blog back in play by his/her very timely post.

    I see in yesterday’s Barbados Today that Butch has a deal to “operate and manage a rebuilt Almond under the Beaches brand, with an option to purchase the property at a future date”.

    First observation is how was the fledgling Barbados Today able to get the “scoop” over the long established Nation and Advocate.

    Was the story published on the basis of an official government communique or press release, or from leaked documents? Given that I have seen nothing in either of the Nation of Advocate (may have missed something), I am guessing that it was a leak. Kudos to Barbados Today for running the story.

    Why did it take a year and a half to get this ball rolling?

    There can be no doubt that “Barbados stands to gain exposure as a result of the marketing and promotional might of the Sandal (Beaches) brand; just as has Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua, Turks and Caicos, St Lucia, and now Grenada. The same full page ad that is on the back page of the Travel section in today’s Toronto Star for Sandals LaSource resort in Grenada, has been running weekly for a couple of months now – and it does not open until December 2013. (There has been virtually no advertising for Barbados properties in Toronto papers for at least six months)

    On the surface It sounds like it has to be a sweet deal for Butch – Barbados taxpayers borrow $500 million from China to buy the property from N&M, bulldoze the existing buildings, and build a 426 room facility (including 6 or 7 restaurants).

    Butch has managed his risk by having the facility built by the taxpayers (via China loan), and has an option to buy the property – if all goes well. If not, he can walk away – at some future date stipulated in the agreement.

    David said “Of the myriad of issues which this government continues to wrestle -thrown up by the global economy – ordinary citizens have the capacity to understand that this is a difficult time to govern. Surely one way the Stuart government can allay the anxiety of citizens is to feed them relevant information. A reasonable assumption must be that disseminating information to the population is a prerequisite of a democracy.”

    Since the taxpayers will be on the hook for the $500 million loan, I assume the government will, in the interest of transparency and full disclosure, publish the full details of the agreement with Butch when it is finalized in “a month”.

    As an aside, DD came across an April 2012 article at http://www.stabroeknews.com/2012/archives/04/08/butch-stewart-eying-barbados-almond-beach-village/ which the BU family may find interesting. It is a reprint of an interview with Butch Stewart published by the Nation on April 7, 2012. An interesting discussion in which Stewart talks about the Almond property and his previous experience with Paradise Beach.

    When the interviewer said

    “The one apprehension we have heard so far with respect to your taking over the property is that you would want to have a private beach. In fact, we understand that that was the deal breaker last time you were pursuing a major investment in Barbados.”

    Stewart replied; “ First of all, that is rumour. Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean we operate in Antigua; the beach is not private; St Lucia is not private; the Bahamas is not private; Jamaica is not private. So nothing could be further from the truth.
    No, I think what happened is that we just got mixed up with bureaucracy and couldn’t make any progress; and it was also earlier times and more primitive times for Sandals Resorts. If we had had probably better professional help, it would have been [workable].
    We are a young company, 30 years old this year – but absolutely nothing like a private beach.
    That’s all nonsense!”

    Interviewer “But at the end of the day, you got fed up with the Paradise project – now Four Seasons – and you left. Can you assure Barbadians that if given the opportunity to take over Almond you would be in it for the long haul?”

    Stewart: “(Chuckle) Take a look at all the places that we are at. Any island that Sandals is in, does well. Every island! And we go in, we dig our holes, we make our nest, we develop the properties”.

    Finally, DD is curious where how the 112,684 additional visitors was calculated.

    The hotel/resort will have 426 large family rooms with on average six persons per room – Mom and Dad and four kids, or three swinging couples, or same sex people.

    Typically an all-inclusive stay is for 7 days.

    With 426 rooms and 50 weeks to rent (2 weeks down time for annual maintenance) the hotel would have 21,300 room weeks to fill.

    By my rough amateur calculations, in order to have 112,684 visitors staying at the resort for 7 days would require 5.3 persons in every room for each of the 50 weeks. With 6 persons to a room it would require each room to be occupied 88% of the time.

    It seems to me that a more likely scenario would see an average 4 persons to each room 85% of the time – and that would result in 72,420 visitors.

    That is better than zero visitors at Heywoods which will be the case for the three years it will take to get it up and running, but a long way (35%) off 112,684.

    DD would appreciate readers with more knowledge of the tourism business to check the assumptions and the math; and let me know where I am incorrect or missing something

    Like

  57. checkit-out September 13, 2013 at 12:33 PM #

    Anyone listened to Dennis Johnson on this matter on Brasstacks today? Apparently there is also a story on it with more details on Barbados Today.

    Like

  58. Prodigal Son September 13, 2013 at 12:50 PM #

    Yes, I read the story on BT. Is the property in such bad shape that it has to be knocked down? But there again, this may be the best thing, start new like the Hilton. I don’t trust Butch Stewart though when it comes to doing things in Barbados! The only thing I do not understand is why would a government agree up front not to go to tender for this project. Bet your bottom dollar that Jada will get the contract!

    Like

  59. Bush Tea September 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM #

    Bushie cannot believe that even the stupid brass bowls that constitute the leadership of Barbados (on both sides) would make such idiotic decisions.

    Pay $100M for ALMONDS to knock it down and build anew? a fool and OUR money are soon parted…

    …well why not just BUILD A NEW ONE on government land?
    …why not give the damn piece of shit to Doyle?
    ..why not tax the Trini owner’s brass bowl for the misuse of that prime property…

    After Butch Stewart’s record with Paradise – he must be greasing some big palms to get to screw us again so…

    ….talk bout brass bowls!!

    DENNIS JOHNSON you are obviously not a bajan…. you miss out on the brass bowl bush bath that we bajans seem to have got….
    THANK YOU.

    Like

  60. millertheanunnaki September 13, 2013 at 4:42 PM #

    @ Prodigal Son | September 13, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    This is just another piece of bullshit aka spin or propaganda to make it look as if this administration is doing something.

    Jada can’t even build a proper pigpen far less a hotel to attract mostly UK visitors who are keeping far away from places likes Barbados that have become havens for hustlers, pimps, drug pushers and environmental terrorists.
    Just take a look of the housing and commercial building project and ask yourself if you are not seeing concrete ovens in an already tropical setting. The Coverly and Valerie projects are proof positive of what those construction frauds are capable of. This outfit of bilkers and kickback conmen has no imagination for constructing a modern hotel property with a sustainable living type accommodation based on renewable energy and other green or ecologically-friendly technologies that modern and future visitors will be expecting.

    The main issue here is one of financing. Let’s get real and ask the question from whom and when would a country with already junk bond status, a massive debt burden in excess of $10 billion (excluding the UWI, Al Barrack), a poorly performing economy bereft of natural resources to be exploited and saddled with a political administration in whom no or very little investor confidence resides would be able to attract thousands of millions in loans and FDI to finance the following projects:

    As stimulus package in excess of $150 million (M) for road rehabilitation.

    A sugar processing factory based on a revitalized cane sugar industry costing in the region $500 M.
    A WTE plant costing in the region nof another $500 M.
    A wave to energy plant costing millions to construct and bring into being.
    A cruise ship terminal and a Pier head marina.
    A brand new hospital costing in excess of $1billion but to operate with less that $120 M on an annual basis.

    And now the purchase of Almond for $ 106 M and another $500 M to knockdown and build back.

    Now who is this administration trying to fool?
    Almond will end up as just another casualty like the Four Seasons project and the other 30 odd hotel properties that have bitten the dust in the last 5 years representing the collateral damage of a dying tourism industry called Brand Barbados. Unless this country cleans up its act and focus on the real issues and challenges facing Barbados’ tourism like harassment of many kinds from sexual to verbal and physical from Bridgetown to Oistins, lack of visitor attractions, unsightly garbage and filth that could be a danger to public health, run down accommodation, an overgrown with bush countryside that was once but no longer a sight for sore eyes to be hold and poor value for money right across the tourism landscape those people looking for a quick turnaround would just be spinning top in mud.

    Like

  61. Due Diligence September 16, 2013 at 6:48 PM #

    Miller

    Your point about the root causes and real issues is right on.

    But as this administration is “has also committed to the purchasing and refurbishing two properties, the Almond Beach Village and the Silver Sands Hotel to help increase the room stock on the island and protect Barbadian jobs. For the record: the government does not intend to enter into the hotel management business but will seek to attract brand name chains to either manage or purchase these properties.” It says so at http://www.dlpbarbados.org/site/

    Given that Doyle is the only operator in Barbados to express an interest in ABV, and government apparently does not like his fractional ownership model, the only viable operator option is a brand name chain.

    The Couples chain, with four properties in Jamaica has taken over Casuarina; and will need time to digest that property and become accustomed to operating outside of Jamaica.

    Hilton and Radison have their centrally located properties, and apparently show no interest ABV.

    Other alternatives would include the Spanish/European chains that operate the hotels/resorts in Mexico, Cuba, DR and other Latin American jurisdictions that have been eating Barbados’ tourism business for twenty to thirty years, particularly from the North American market.

    So, that leaves Butch, and that is not a bad thing.

    As Sandals is a private company, we do not know if it is highly profitable; but given that he has grown Sandals/Beaches to 16 resorts in five Caribbean countries (17 in 6 countries including La Source opening in Grenada in December) in about 30 years it is reasonable to assume he is making money. That is a good thing.

    On the positive side, his properties are high-end resorts, in keeping with the image Barbados has been known for; and he has huge promotion and advertising clout.

    The downside for the Barbadian taxpayer is that Butch holds the bargaining chips. He has the power of the Sandals/Beaches brand. He knows how to run luxury resorts, knows what his costs are/will be, and has hammered out similar deals/agreements with 5 Governments. When Butch and his team of seasoned professionals sit down to negotiate the details of the agreement with the MOT, CEO of BTA, and their team of bureaucrats, Butch will definitely have the upper hand. If MOT/BTA et al try to extract more than he is prepared to pay, he can walk from Heywoods just as he walked from Paradise Beach.

    The sad reality is that Butch is calling the shots this time.

    Like

  62. David September 16, 2013 at 6:51 PM #

    Butch has the brand and the marketing thrust to add value to the Barbados product.

    Like

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