The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is yet to sign a deal with an investor in the Buccament Bay Resort, one year after it was closed.
“We had been in negotiations with an investor and we had hoped that that investor would have started rehabilitative works on the site before the year ended. That has not happened due to some hiccups in the negotiations regarding, essentially, the management arrangements of the facility,” Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Camillo Gonsalves told iWitness News on Thursday, one year to the day that the resort closed.
“But we are still very confident that we will overcome those little negotiating hurdles and that rehabilitative work will begin early in the New Year,” Gonsalves said.
After weeks of industrial action over the non-payment of workers, the resort was forced to close its doors after the state-owned power company disconnected its electricity connection over non-payment of bills.
In late June, Dave Ames, chair of Harlequin Properties, the resort’s owners, fled St. Vincent as prosecutors moved in on him on theft and tax evasion charges.
His lawyer has since said that illness prevent Ames from returning to St. Vincent from his birth country, the United Kingdom, where he is being prosecuted on fraud charges.
Gonsalves told iWitness News that he was not at liberty to say yet who the investor in the resort is, “because we haven’t concluded the negotiation.
“When I conclude the negotiation, I’d be happy to say but we are in the midst of negotiations. We thought we had a deal, we don’t quite have a deal so we are still at the negotiating table. I don’t want to say anything that might jeopardise those negotiations,” he told iWitness News.
In the meantime, scores of former employees at the resort and other service providers are yet to be paid wages and other monies owed to them.
The government has noted that a new owner would not be obligated to pay outstanding wages owned when the resort was under different ownership.