Four Seasons rescue
A "source of much bemusement" - those are the words used by Tourism Minister, Richard Sealy to describe his reaction to various opinions expressed about the stalled Four Seasons Resort.
The Minister this morning delivered the 2016 Year in Review report to industry stakeholders where he noted there was at least one party expressing interest in taking on the project.
The project has been a source of much criticism following its collapse back in 2009 when one of the major investors pulled out, leading Government to inject $80 million to shore up the project. Sealy said Government had no choice but to intervene when the project came to a halt but since then interested parties have been coming forward.
"It was a private sector project that went belly up. But as usual it was the Government that had went in and saved the day - only to be criticised by some of the same people who told you you had to move in.”
Not naming the interested party, Sealy said the interest group was at an "advanced stage" of legal negotiations to work out Government concessions. He said Government’s choice to divest interest out of Four Seasons Resort was a difficult move and it involved a "legal labyrinth" which all parties needed to iron out.
Sealy gave the assurance that progress was being made with the discussions and said he was optimistic that the legal hurdles can be overcome for construction to begin this year.
“For me, I would like to think that something can happen this year. I am told that is not overly optimistic but it is really more legalistic than financial at this stage. I have to allow the attorneys involved and the Minister of Finance to do their work.”
He added that although the offering with the resort was not large, as the room count stood at less than 100, the addition of the international brand to Barbados’ tourism product could not be underscored.
“I don’t think anyone needs to be convinced on the strength of the Four Seasons brand. [I’m] happy to be able to say that Four Seasons will be helping to contribute to our effort at making full employment.”