Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jetty Saved In Speightstown's Twin-City

Jetty Saved In Speightstown's Twin-City - Charleston, SC. Is anyone paying attention in Barbados? Click here for more - http://j.mp/19WVWmX.

From Wikipedia:
"Speightstown has been twinned with:
England - Reading, Berkshire, England (since 2003)
United States - Charleston, South Carolina (since November 1997), the original parts of which were based on the plans of Barbados's capital city Bridgetown. Many dispossessed indigo, tobacco and cotton planters departed from Speightstown along with their slaves and helped found Charleston after there was a wholesale move to adopt sugar cane cultivation in Barbados; a land and labour intensive enterprise which helped usher in the era of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the British West Indies."

Click here - http://j.mp/StownJet - to sign the petition for the restoration of the Speightstown Jetty.
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ramshackle Catspradled

"The popular Ramshackle Bar in Mount Standfast, St James, has closed its doors, leaving 15 workers jobless.

According to co-owner Maxine Depeiza, the closure resulted from her business partner’s decision to pull out of the business and the owners of the land not wishing the operation to continue.

Ramshackle closed at the end of November and Depeiza said many of her former employees were mothers of young children.

She spoke to the SATURDAY SUN yesterday as she oversaw the removal of materials which she had added to the wooden structure in 2010 after leasing the property from owners who lived overseas."

Source: http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/bar-closed/
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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Techno Jetty

Sign petition to have jetty repaired here -http://j.mp/StownJet

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Monday, November 11, 2013


"The Barbados government has granted millions of dollars in concessions to Jamaican hotel magnate Gordon “Butch” Stewart who recently signed an agreement to operate a Beaches Resort and Sandals hotel there.

According to an article written by Roy Morris, Editor-in-Chief of the Barbados Nation newspaper, for the next 25 years, Beaches and Sandals will be exempted from paying all import duties, taxes including VAT, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever on the importation or local purchase on all capital goods needed for the equipping, operation and promotion of the hotel, as well as on all food and beverages. 

When that tax holiday period is over, Sandals will only be required to pay half of the “applicable rates and taxes prevailing” for the next 15 years. 

The details of the concessions were contained in a letter dated Tuesday, November 5th, 2013, and signed by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler.

The Nation newspaper said the tax holiday period began on Tuesday, the day before Sandals officially began operation in Barbados and encompasses the period before the start date of the commercial operation of the hotel, and while it is being acquired, expanded and developed. Sandals in Barbados will be managed by Josef Zellner, who once managed Beaches Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Barbados Minister of Finance further advised that the letter was only interim approval which shall remain valid until replaced by a permanent letter together with the appropriate statutory instrument to be issued by him.

What the newspaper describes as a “sweetheart deal”, includes the waiver of:-

(a) all import duties, taxes, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever, including Value Added Tax, on the importation or local purchase of:

(i) all capital goods such as building materials, articles of hotel equipment, furniture. furnishings, fixtures, fittings, construction machinery, boats, watercraft, vehicles for the Hotel's use, televisions, computer equipment, telephones, software, hardware, shrubs and plants, garden and agriculture equipment, promotional and marketing materials for operating the Hotel and for the cyclical re-furbishing undertaken from time to time in order to maintain the Hotel to the standards of the Sandals brand;

(ii) consumables for the operation of the Hotel, including but not limited to operating supplies, soft furnishings, printed materials, guest supplies, spa supplies, paper, stationery, books and spare parts for equipment; 

(iii) food, alcohol and beverages;

(b) all import duties taxes, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever on all vehicles required for the operation of the Hotel including vehicle assigned to senior managers;

(c) all import duties taxes, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever on personal and household effects and vehicles for senior staff (as outlined in (b) above) who are contracted to work in Barbados and are not citizens or permanent residents of Barbados;

(d) Value Added Tax on the provision of services that directly relate to construction works or cyclical refurbishment of the Hotel undertaken from time to time in order to maintain the Hotel to the standards of the Sandals brand;

(e) all import duties taxes, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever on all vehicles required for the operation of the Hotel including vehicle assigned to senior managers; 

(f) all import duties taxes, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever on personal and household effects and vehicles for staff who are contracted to work in Barbados and are not citizens or permanent residents of Barbados.

Jordan Samuda, group manager, procurement division of Sandals International, said the conglomerate was delighted with the terms of the concessions, which he described as competitive.

“The product that we will put out in Barbados will be one of the best that we put out anywhere in the Caribbean,” Samuda told the Nation via telephone from Jamaica.

Samuda said he did not think Sandals would have been able achieve the excellence their brand represented without the concessions, and noted that the tax breaks would allow them to able to keep their product in tune with the times.

“They allow you to put a product out for your guests that can compete with anybody worldwide. . . . Duty free concessions allow us to up the ante on the food and beverage product. You have the physical aspect which you can continue improving and continue investing in, you also have the daily food and beverage product that you are able to provide. 

The Sandals executive praised the efficiency of Sinckler and the various civil servants, Customs and Port Authority for facilitating the group to swiftly get the relevant documentation and materials processed between the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Government on October 18 and the hotel’s opening on Wednesday.

He was particularly impressed with Sinckler, the Barbados Minister of Finance, saying: “Obviously the minister understands and can see what this level of investment in Barbados can do and will do.”

In his recent ministerial statement on the MOU between Government and Sandals International, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said the arrival of Sandals marked a “seismic shift for the tourism industry in Barbados” in its effort to capture a bigger share in the very competitive global tourism market.

“It is expected that these two properties will contribute annually in net terms, that is, the money to be retained by the taxi drivers providing transfers, the farmers; the 1 500 workers; the utility companies and others an amount in excess of BDS$100 million to the Barbadian economy.”"

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is that a glimmering light at the end of the 4Seasons tunnel I see?

Clearly, if the PM and the Minister of Finance are hiding from you, and you are being schmoozed by the St. Lucy MP (no offense intended), we already know where this deal is going - if it goes anywhere at all.  All debts, including all political debts, must be paid before this project ever sees the light of day again.  Click here to read about it all. 

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Just when we were beginning to think the ABV miasma couldn't get any worse, it just did ...

Rump Almond


Before Sandals takes one step into St Peter, Barbados will get another taste of Almond.

Well placed sources have revealed that the Ministry of Tourism has selected MW Sun Hotels Inc., owned by wealthy businessman Bernard Weatherhead, to reopen and operate the now mothballed Almond Beach Village at Heywoods, St Peter, for at least one year.

In fact, in correspondence obtained by the SUNDAY SUN, Weatherhead explained to chief executive officer of Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTI), Stuart Layne, that with an injection of $5.1 million from Government and speedy movement by Government’s operatives, they could have 138 rooms and related facilities ready to receive guests in mid January, missing only the first few weeks of the 2013-2015 winter tourist season. BTI is looking after Government’s interest at Almond Resorts.

Government is anxious to get the once popular 500-room all-inclusive resort reopened again, but recognize that even with the agreement with Sandals of Jamaica to take over the property, bulldoze and rebuild it as a family resort, its doors will not be thrown open until 24 to 36 months after construction begins – and the date for that could be as much as two years away, sources said."


As Alice said, "this gets curiouser and curiouser"

The Mad Hatter, apparently, is in charge of plan A; plan B, and also plan "maybe". What a fantastic "mortar"...replete with two pestles, and endless of "possibilities" therein!

We could of course, retain the Almond at ground level, and then build the Sandals, on level two...with a lovely view. On the roof-top, a heliport would allow for Virgin Atlantic passengers, to be swiftly ferried to and from GAIA...a first in the Caribbean! To facilitate a smooth transition, (if our patience is rewarded this time around), we could coin a catch-all brand: "SANDMONDS". Get the URL registered now!

Mr. Editor: you sure you ain't pick up de wrong end of de stick?

I know we have people in Barbados that
can get that hotel going.
I don't trust Stuart as far as I can see him.
Always remember Paradise hotel. Now he would
like to tie this one up also. I agree that it can be back in operation and bring in some money for the country. MR. Weatherhead I know you are going to do a good job. May God be with you and your team"

Source: http://www.nationnews.com/index.php/articles/view/almond-again/
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Slow-Selling/No-Selling "One Sandy Lane" (formerly The Sands) Just Hit The Jackpot

"Superstar Rihanna has splashed out $22million on a beachside home on the Caribbean island of Barbados - after renting the same property last year.  The 25-year-old singer has bought a home at the luxurious One Sandy Lane resort on the island where she was born and raised.  Rihanna always returns to her native Barbados for Christmas and last year revealed she rented the same five-bed condo and planned on her mother Monica Braithwaite and younger brother Rajad joining her."

Read more ...
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Will Butch Stewart do to ABV what he did to PBC ...

... shutter it up and run it down for a million years, then dump it?  Can't say I am excited about this deal at all, at all, at all:

"The future of the Almond Beach Village property at Heywoods in St. Peter, as planned by Government, is starting to take shape.

Barbados TODAY has learnt that the Freundel Stuart Cabinet has determined it will purchase the property from Neal and Massy of Trinidad for US$53 million, with an initial cash payment of US$25 million and the balance of US$28 million being paid over three years at an interest rate that is still to be agreed between the two parties.

Additionally, after an initial Cabinet decision instructed the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. to work with Sandals Resort International “to have a Sandals Beaches Resort in Barbados within three to four weeks”, that body last week determined that Sandals be given the nod to operate and manage a rebuilt Almond under the Beaches brand, with an option to purchase the property at a future date.

In a very brief dismissal of the only competing written offer, a Cabinet document titled Long-term Operator for the Almond Beach Village at Heywoods, St. Peter, stated:

Crane Resorts proposes to buy one-third of the property for one-third of the purchase price paid by the Government, with an option to purchase the remaining two thirds … in the future. The plan would be for the development of the villa accommodation for sale by way of time share. There is also a proposal for the short term operation of Almond…

“This proposal is quite similar to the existing Crane model, which involves building accommodation based on sales and may therefore take a full decade to fully realise its potential. It will therefore fail to achieve increased visitor arrivals in the next few years and will be unable to assist Barbados in protecting its airlift.”

On the other hand, the document explained, the Sandals proposal involved the building of a 426-room, all-inclusive family resort “which will allow Barbados to regain its share of the families market which was lost with the closure of Almond Resorts. These will be large family rooms with on average six persons per room.”

Based on the calculations made, this potentially will result in an additional 112,684 visitors to Barbados annually.

“This large number of visitors will protect airlift for the entire tourism industry in Barbados and contribute to an increase in visitor spending. It is also worthy of note that Almond, at its peak, accounted for an additional 25,000 visitors annually. The Sandals proposal would increase this number by a factor in excess of four…

“While it can be argued that the issue of a long-term operator for the Heywoods property should be the subject of a public tender, it is the view of the Ministry of Tourism that the need for the return of the room inventory to production is extremely urgent.

“In addition, it is also believed that a tendering process is unlikely to result in a better operator than Sandals since the only other major all-inclusive operator in the Caribbean region was Almond Resorts Inc., which is now closed.

“The Sandals proposal also addresses all of the national tourism objectives as follows:

* An increase in the number of long-stay visitors that come to Barbados each years; and

* Protection of existing airlift in critical source markets,” the document stated.

“It should be noted that Barbados stands to gain substantial exposure as a result of the marketing and promotional might of the Sandals brand. The company has indicated that experience in other destinations show that the mere announcement that a Sandals property is to be constructed … is enough to generate interest from the airlines.”

Given this approach, the Ministry of Tourism recommended that Cabinet invokes Section 239 of the Financial Management and Audit Act for authority to achieve its objective without inviting tenders, but instead through “direct negotiations in accordance with arrangements as the Cabinet directs”.

“The Ministry of Tourism is satisfied that this matter is urgent and that there are no other operators as capable as Sandals in assisting Barbados to maintain its share of the all-inclusive tourism market, while protecting airlift into Barbados,” Cabinet was told.

The challenge for Barbados with the Sandals proposal, however, is that it could take at least a month for an agreement to be finalised and a further 24 to 36 months of construction.

“This would mean that unless a short-term plan is developed there would be no activity at Heywoods over a three- to four-year period … when the tourism industry in Barbados is short of hotel rooms,” it added.

Following BTI investigations, it has been determined that it may be feasible to operate the 120-room southern block, which is still fully furnished with functioning utilities, to meet needs from the Canadian and United Kingdom markets. This would accommodate up to 8,700 visitors over a 12-month period."

Source: http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2013/09/11/almond-to-be-bulldozed-and-replaced-by-426-room-beaches-resort/
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