There are increasing signs of disrepair at Buccament Bay Resort, seen here in mid June 2018. (iWN photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says that he would rather not be asked who is being considered for management of the Buccament Bay Resort.

Gonsalves repeated in Parliament on Thursday his statement a few weeks ago that he would be disappointed if the resort does not reopen by December, two years after it was forced to close.

“Now, there is, Mr. Speaker, an entity, an entity with persons who have all invested hitherto, reputable persons, in this country who are working with the trustees in bankruptcy and also with the inspectors.

“There is an important issue that they have to clarify,” he said, adding that a meeting was taking place at that very moment on that issue.

He was responding to a question by Opposition Leader Godwin Friday.

Friday noted that the resort was abruptly closed over a year and a half ago.

“Since the government has, in various statements, indicated that the resort would be reopened soon,” he said in the preamble to the question, which was initially directed to Minister of Tourism, Cecil “Ces” McKie.

The opposition leader had asked the minister to indicate what is the status of plans to reopen the resort; who will be operating the resort; and whether it is being sold or leased to the new operators.

However, McKie said that because the prime minister has been intimately involved in the discussion, he wanted to revert the question to him.

Gonsalves said that while he had said he would be disappointed if the resort does not re-open by December he would be disappointed,  “It doesn’t mean that it would happen.

“I said I would have been disappointed if it did not happen. I chose my words very carefully,” Gonsalves said.

He said there are many investors in Buccament Bay Resort – which closed in December 2016 when the state-owned electricity company severed its connection to the grid.

The development came after weeks of protest by employees over the non-payment of wages.

Gonsalves said that there are many members of the cabinet who are urging that he lead the charge for the government “to acquire what there is to be acquired and to proceed with a management company.

“I demurred from that and my demur rested, despite the urgency in getting it going, my demur rested on my judgment that we have set up a process through a modern insolvency act, … that we should allow that process to work.”

The prime minister said if the government were to intervene, many investors might accuse it of behaving as if it is a bandit state.

He said there was “wisdom” in the approach suggested by the Cabinet. “But you may build something with wisdom, but you have to complete it with understanding. So says the good book.”

Gonsalves said that [at] any point in time the state were to intervene in the way in which it has demurred, the public would know that they have acted because finally that is the best way to act in all of the circumstances.

He said that the country is very concerned that the resort has remained closed for a year and a half.

The prime minister further said there are “some concession issues because we have to appreciate that investors require concessions but it depends on the nature and type of concessions and the extent of them”.

He said there are some concessions on which they can agree and others on which there must be further discussion.

“I am asking that since I do not have the legal responsibility to tell you who will be operating the resort if you do not push me and I would not say who the persons they are talking to.

“That is the business of the trustees in bankruptcy to speak of. And, whether it is being sold or leased to the new operators, you will see, from the description I have given of the property, the various elements, you may conclude that there are some aspects that will involve sale and some aspects that will involve lease.”

As an example, Gonsalves said that the state would not sell the seabed.

“I believe that I have provided enough information as to the process of where we are, and the judgment which I have given you, so that honourable members would see that we are at a stage for a solution. It is at hand and I am hopeful that with all of the difficulties that have been defined that there would be a resolution, so that I would not be disappointed as I had indicated that I would be if it were not re-opened by December,” he said.

However, Friday asked the prime minister if by saying that he would be disappointed if the resort were not re-opened by December he also meant that he expects it to be opened by December.

“If I were to say that I expect that it would be open by December, I would have said so. Because I understand both sets of words which are spoken and you may well have an announcement imminently,” Gonsalves said.

Friday retorted, “But you can’t be disappointed if you don’t have an expectation.”

“Well, you can analyse and parse it,” the prime minister said.

11 replies on “PM won’t disclose entity likely to run Buccament resort”

  1. Nancy Saul-Demers says:

    I am concerned to hear the honourable Prime Minister say “there are some aspects that will involve sale and some aspects that will involve lease” and then follow that statement by giving as an example “the state would not sell the seabed.” I hope that does not in any way mean the government would ever contemplate such a thing or contemplate leasing the seabed or contemplate reducing in any other way the free and unfettered public access to the beach guaranteed by law.

    1. I hear what you are saying Nancy, but if the investors business involves gaining exclusive use of the beach ( which is done in all other Caribbean countries and the Grenadines) its a paramount quality of their marketing strategies to gain specific clients. So that’s just business. Also as long as it’s not done island wide and the investors adequately compensate the government and its citizens I don’t see anything wrong with it. The problem we had in the past especially in the Grenadines is that the previous government made bad deals and sold lands to investors and we wasn’t being adequately compensated or benefited from it, except for a few jobs to citizens which they’re under paid and under represented. Plus a few taxes paid the the government but not enough concession is given back to the country.

      1. Nancy Saul-Demers says:

        I hear what you are saying, too, Al and simply cannot agree because what you suggest is contrary to the law of SVG that says all beaches in the the country are public. “All” doesn’t mean “some” or “a few” or “except if a developer is interested.” Given the law, free, unfettered access to all beaches in the country is a precious right of all Vincentians – not something to be bargained away. On another note, you are not factually correct in saying that “all other Caribbean countries” give developers and their guests beach exclusivity. Barbados stands as an example of another Caribbean countries in which the law grants public access to beaches, as was highlighted there by recent on-beach protests. Two wrongs never make a right. Last but not least, any ongoing situation in which locals and some visitors have access to beaches blocked or compromised cannot be laid at the feet of any previous government. Surely it is the job of the current government to ensure that all laws are appropriately enforced, including that granting public access to all beaches.

      2. I am sure to some extent that Sandy Lane hotel in Barbados has exclusive access to its beach . Furthermore SVG has many beaches in remote locations in the Grenadines that the public do not visit . But I agree with your point and I am pro- freedom to access our beaches but under limited temporary access can see it also from a business perspective .

      3. concerning the law , each side can compromise and reach common ground for the best interest and welfare of the economy development of our country ….. if it means amending the law.

  2. Elma Gabriel says:

    You know, I am very tired of these word-games between these big men in parliament. The PM is simply asking the people to trust what-so-ever is being negotiated by him on this matter, in other words; by now with his proven accomplishments, we ought to be comfortable with his secret judgements.

    I wish to remind comrade that the ‘Good Book’ also says: “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.”

    As for me I do believe that the PM love his country SVG our homeland and country however, the opposition are to be given some merits in such negotiation as I have no doubt that they love SVG too and want the best for our home land.

    The Good Book also directed the opposition: “ Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

    Parliament is not an opportunity for grammar school old boys to display their debating games but to use time effectively as it is costly to our struggling little SVG. Wisdom, with understanding, knowledge and all kinds of skills come only through the Spirit of God.

    Ecclesiastes 1:14-17 provides edify to all of us:>> “ I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.>>> What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over ‘SVG’ before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.”

  3. C. ben-David says:

    My own view — uncluttered by the facts on the ground — but informed by similar situations elsewhere, is that the resort will open and close several times for years to come.

  4. I was a vendor during the early (Ridgeview) stages of construction.
    At the time there was no beach, only a mucky shoreline. Is there
    still a beach there to argue over?

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