Buccament Bay Resort investors, Barry Ferdinand, left, and Kelly Glass. (iWN photo)

The three new investors in the failed Buccament Bay Resort are hoping to re-open it in December 2019, under a new name.

Businessman Kelly Glass told iWitness News on Tuesday that the acquisition is going  “quite well” but there are still some legal matters to be resolved. 

“What’s happened, we have put three different groups together from the UK and here and we are in the final stages of sorting out the last bits and pieces of the legal and regulatory part of the acquisition of the hotel through the liquidators and so forth,” he told iWitness News on the side lines of a donation of whiteboards to Buccament Bay Secondary School.

“It has been a very long, drawn out process because there are a lot of parties involved, so it has not been easy but we are focused and committed to getting it across the line.”

In October 2018, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced that Glass, a naturalised Vincentian, along with Barry Ferdinand, who is originally of Rose Hall, and Jonathan Mills, a Scot, are the new investors in Buccament Bay Resort, which has been closed since December 2016.

Glass said the investors would like to see all the legal issues sorted out within the next eight weeks.

He said that after that, there will be “significant amount of repairing and infrastructure, central facilities.

“The infrastructure has to be redone and a lot of the interiors have to be repaired, pools — top to bottom.”

He said that in addition to that, the new investors will be expanding the resort.

Speaking in the same interview, Ferdinand emphasised that the December 2019 date is only a target.

“We can only target it. Target is based on a number of things like completion — practical completion has not even been done. We’ve exchanged so we are going through a due diligence process. A target date is December. That was our target. Make sure you quote target date, because targets are moveable.”

Glass told iWitness News that the resort will be rebranded.

“We won’t say the name yet. We will like to keep it in a bit of suspense. That will be done by our marketing people further down the road.”

He said that that they are down to a shortlist of two or three names.

“We are very excited to be doing it. We want to bring it back to as good or better than its former glory. We are not here to do a quick fix. It has to be repaired properly. It’s going to be a flag ship hotel of St. Vincent so we have to do it properly.”

Meanwhile, Ferdinand noted that there is personal interest as well as financial interest in the new investors’ involvement in the project.

“I think personal comes before financial because you’ve got to remember there are three individuals, myself, Kelly and Jonathan; are not being remunerated to get that back off the ground. It really is to get the country back off the ground.

“Because, as Kelly is saying, it’s got a bad name but what we have got, we’ve got a blank canvass, along with the airport to try and bring things together. It’s not going to be easy because filling that resort is absolutely the same as filling the airport. So, the government, the country has got to come together to make that work because at the moment, it is seen as a toxic resort. We are here to try and rebrand it, redefine it and I think we are probably in the best place to do it,” he told iWitness News.

19 replies on “Investors hope to reopen Buccament resort in December”

  1. Buccament

    Although the Resort is well worth saving and would add much value to our mainland tourism product if it can be made successful, there are several qualifications that need to be added to this nicely presented piece:

    1. This news item clearly shows that the Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, was not telling the truth when he said that the resort had been sold in his 2019 Budget address: “The Buccament Bay Resort, for years a magnet for British tourism in our country, has emerged from the limbo of receivership and now finally has new ownership.” The resort still does not have new owners. Full stop.

    2. A major question that needs answering is whether the resort ever turned a profit even during its first few years of operation or lacked viability from the very start. It is testimony to its questionable profitability that no name-brand international company was willing to either buy or manage the resort (https://home.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/bb/pdf/2018/10/Harlequin_Property_SVG_Limited_Report_to_Creditors_6_November_2018.pdf).

    3. By the beginning the next year, the deteriorating resort would need even more money to restore it to its former glory.

    4. The entire blame for this fiasco lies at the feet of our Prime Minister who allowed a con man like David Ames to build the resort in the first place in the same way that Sir James Mitchell was hustled by Dr. Aldo Rolla in the Ottley Hall marina disaster.

    5. If “filling that resort is absolutely the same as filling the airport,” God help us all because the airport certainly is not “filling” with international tourists (https://www.iwnsvg.com/2019/03/20/fake-news-about-aia/).

    6. As for the British market which supplied so many of Buccament Bay Resort’s guests, as Camillo Gonsalves correctly asserted in the 2019 Budget speech, any prospect of getting a single international flight from London or elsewhere in England are slim if this hotel is the only big hospitality attraction on the mainland (https://www.iwnsvg.com/2019/03/20/fake-news-about-aia/).

    Still, I wish this venture much good luck because luck is what it will need to actually prosper.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    Given the amount of continuing Facebook and other comments about this, let us once and for all divest ourselves of the notion that the workers, suppliers, contractors, NIS, income tax department, utility companies (CWSA, Vinlec, etc.), and other local bodies and persons not paid — all of whom are called unsecured creditors — would ever see a red cent when the secured creditors like banks and investors (who actually own the property or mortgages to them) who are near the head of the line (but still behind the lawyers and accountants at the very front of the line managing the bankruptcy) will end up only receiving a pittance of their investment back because there is nothing more to give back to them.

    Why are the lawyers and accountants paid first? Simply because the groups managing the bankruptcy would never handle the process if they knew they might never get paid.

    If there was money to pay to the workers, the Resort wouldn’t have gone bankrupt! Even if there was money, the government entities would be ahead of the workers and others. As for Kelly Glass and company, they will have no legal responsibiliity to pay any of these creditors, only to pay as little as they can negotiate to purchase the resort to make them the new owners. Why do I say all this? Because that is how bankruptcy law operates.

    Also, if Glass, Ferdinand, and Mills actually end up purchasing the bankrupt resort from the current owners (amounting to over 2,400 investors), the workers, suppliers, contractors, and others who were owed money when the facilty was shuttered in December 2016 should not look to these new owners to pay them what they are owed because they will simply and rightly be told that bankruptcy law and/or the sales agreement they signed says that this obligation, if any actually exists, rests with the former owners.

    This is all moot, as they say, because there will be no money left after the secured creditors, all of whom will have to take a huge loss, probably in excess of 90 percent, are paid.

    This was a tradedy for all parties concerned and could have been easily avoided had this government been less eager to get somebody — anybody — to build a resort at Buccament Bay regardless of whether they had the background, expertise, financing, and honesty to do so.

    1. It’s said there is no point crying about spilt milk. It’s lost, gone forever. It’s also advised, once burnt, twice shy. I see Buccament like that. A poor tourist like me still pays $50-90 US per night for accommodation. I usually pay a little less. If you want traffic at your new airport, you need numbers, not rich people, poor tourists like me escaping winter, to fill the planes, create the demand. It’s $1,000 CAN round trip from Canada It’s not cheap. It was $250-300 CAN one way to Barbados, daily. Then there was this six hour wait for LIAT who never coordinated its schedule with international flights. SVG Air was much more expensive, but they catered to tourists, grabbed them as soon as they got off the international flight, took them directly to Bequia, which British tourists love so much. St Vincent has a lot more to offer than Barbados. There is little choice between taxis and buses in St Vincent. A trip from Kingstown to Villa is either $60 EC or $2EC. Government subsidizes the $2EC bus. I’m certainly willing to pay more for comfort, but taxis are too expensive. The airport to Villa is $60-$70EC by taxi. There is no bus. There are $2EC to a Canadian dollar this year. Mind you, the van to my airport in Toronto is $90CAN one way, so your taxis are a good deal.I take taxis to hike the volcano, and hike in the north end of your island. From Villa it’s $200-300 EC one way. That’s a lot of money and I don’t want to spend that every day. There are rich tourists, but they don’t fill planes. You already have Mustique, Palm Island, and Bequia. You already cater to rich tourists, where money is not an issue. Even cruise ships are not rich tourists, per se, They spend very little on the island. Their accommodation is a boat. If you want planes to come to your airport you need to attract a variety of tourists, a lot of them, not just rich tourists. AirBnB basically. I’d like to go snorkeling with you at Wynne beach some day. I’ve been there, wasn’t very impressed, certainly didn’t see what you saw.

  3. The Cruise ships discovered the Buccament Bay Resort beach, and it’s the best beach on the island, no longer white sand, but with great snorkeling, kayaking, even plain swimming and sunbathing. It’s close to a multitude of dive sites, and quite pristine and very beautiful coastline. I used to hike over to Petit Buyahut, where an abandoned eco-resort used to operate and snorkel there. You can snorkel to the Bat Cave from either. At the other end of that valley is a rain forest, the Vermont trail. I used to stay at the the Bush Bar run by Zen in Queensbury and walk down the roads to the Buccament beach to snorkel. It’s a wide fertile very long valley. The Punet family used to own it. Kelly Glass has a Midas touch. Everything he gets involved in turns to gold, and it benefits a lot of people. I met him once, hiking the volcano with his son. He picked me up on the road driving a BMW X5, which left the two other vehicles in his group struggling to keep up. We stopped at a cow tangled up in its rope. “What say we untangle that poor cow”, he asked his son, who wasn’t interested, so we drove on. Buccament Bay Resort reminds me of that tangled cow, tangled up in legal ropes. It has the potential to be hugely successful, to offer a wide variety of very unique experiences to tourists, I flew in this year on a direct flight on Air Canada. I met people on Indian Bay beach who came just because it was a new direct flight. They absolutely loved their experience on St Vincent because people weren’t constantly harassing them, begging, trying to sell stuff. They felt quite safe. Everyone was friendly. They had previous trips to Jamaica, Mexico, where poverty and crime really limited what they could do. If St Vincent can be a little more socialist, maintain a healthy wealth for all its people through education, training, and employment, stay at its current population and never grow in numbers, tourists, the 1% who are incredibly wealthy, compared to me, and I spend two months on your island every winter, are going to absolutely love you. They already love Bequia. It’s a hidden gem in tourist blogs. If you follow some of my logic, you will also need to improve your roads. I see a lot of expensive houses in my travels, and very bad roads. I’m very optimistic that Kelly Glass will get Buccament Bay Resort up and running, and profitable. He has that Midas touch. Argyle will attract new international flights. I think England will be next. Tourism is a really growing phenomenon around the world. The 1% who everyone equates with Mustique is actually a much larger population who don’t have that kind of money, but they can travel. I might actually be considered one of the 1% and when I come to St Vincent I feel a lot poorer than many of you.Buccament will thrive, and so will AirBnB for people like me. I’d really like to see a public transit map. I’m always helped out at little Tokyo immediately. I wander in there and people are like, where do you want to go, and they point me to the van, because I’m a tourist, but a transit map wouldn’t cost much. I’d like to go to Grieggs. Lots of great hiking there. I don’t know where the buses go. Your bus system takes years to learn. This year I learned leaving Kingstown for Villa in rush hour at the end of the day. It’s very different than the rest of the day. I’ve been coming to St Vincent for six winters so far. Your people are very friendly, always willing to help a confused tourist at no cost, but your government could do a little more to be tourist friendly.

  4. WARNING: NOTICE OF INCUMBRANCE AGAINST HARLEQUIN PROPERTY (SVG) / BUCCAMENT BAY:
    TAKE NOTICE that Robert Suhrie, Bret Lutsky, and Frank Cox inter alia have Registered incumbrances against Harlequin Property (SVH) Ltd, Buccament Bay Resort, Harlequin Management Service Ltd and David Ames registered Deeds Number: 3812/2013, 1341/2014, and 3717/2013 inter alia to protect the judgements dated 26th April, 2013 Suit Number 127/2010, 248/2011 and 445/2010 respectively. These incumbrances are against land described as 19.05 acres of land situate at Cane Grove, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as shown on Survey Plan A608 Registered as Deed Number 1078/2019.

    1. NOBODY ON HERE IS INTERESTED IN YOUR NOTICE …….WHATS YOUR MOTIVE HERE , IS IT TO DISQUALIFY THE POTENTIAL AND ON GOING TRANSACTIONS OF THE ACQUISITION OF THIS REAL PROPERTY ………SAVE IT FOR THE COURT OF LAW

      1. C. ben-David says:

        Indeed, it is this type of legal squabbling that could easily throw a monkey wrench into the sale of the resort. There are several groups of investors who have not accepted representation by KPMG in this matter.

        Not just a monkey wrench but an endless maze of claims and counterclaims may have this issue tied up in the courts for years.

      2. AL, my legal notice should be obvious here. This sale can NOT go through when there a LIENS on this property. There might be several investors to this property, but I am NOT an investor. I’m a SECURED CREDITOR with a Court Recorded Judgement dating to 2012.

    2. IM NOT A LAWYER BUT SOME KEY QUESTIONS HERE …….

      WHO HAS JURISDICTION OVER HARLEQUIN PROPERTY COMPANY , …UK OR SVG
      DID THE HARLEQUIN COMPANY COMMIT A CRIME …..YES
      WAS THE COMPANY ASSETS LIQUIDATED ……
      WHO HAS FIRST PREFERENCE OVER ESTATE ASSETS , GOV OR SECURED CREDITORS
      IS THIS LAND OWNED BY THE STATE ….

      THESE QUESTIONS MAY NOT MAKE SENSE TO SOME BUT AGAIN IM NOT A LAWYER , JUST A CURIOUS THINKER …….SO MANY INS AND OUT TO LAWS AND CONTRACTS

      1. C. ben-David says:

        All these questions have been long answered and are available on the Internet for those with a little curiosity.

    3. C ben-David says:

      I am sure other secured creditors have similar claims. Some of these would be investors who bought and paid for one or more villas and have Vincentian deeds to prove this but were duped by Dave Ames who sold the very same properties to multiple parties in a scheme the English judge said had all the halmarks of a scam (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/TCC/2016/3188.html). The results of that case have been appealed by the contractor that Ames sued. Other law cases are in progress suggesting that the resort will not open this year or for years to come.

      1. OKAY BEN BUT I FEEL THE GOV AS THE STATE HAS FIRST PREFERENCE OVER LIQUIDATED ASSETS AND CAN WORKOUT A CONTINGENCY DEAL WITH THE NEW DEVELOPERS AND THE SECURE CREDITORS

  5. I’d like to comment on the Cumberland trail, up from Spring village adjacent to Buccament, a tourist destination for people staying at Buccament Bay. Your government printed a very glossy government flier about it. I hiked it then and it became my favourite trail. It’s not that long. One third is virgin rain forest. It’s mostly an old British donkey trail. I saw so many parrots. It was a really rough trail but the government hired people to cut steps into the steep muddy slopes. There were two park benches where you could stop and simply experience nature. The streams had bridges across them. Then the Christmas flood of 2013 happened. Every bridge was totally eliminated, no sign they ever existed. Since then the government abandoned maintenance of the trail. I did the trail this year. I got lost twice within 15 minutes. Rain forests grow very fast. It used to be a very beautiful trail. I’ve seen parrots very close on that trail, in the tree next to me, and now the trail is just bush. The first third is rain forest. Then you emerge on a meadow, very strange and the last two thirds are an English donkey trail through forest that has survived hundreds of years with virtually no damage. It becomes a paved agricultural road that ends at the bridge that was destroyed in the 2013 flood. If you revive Buccament you have to refinance maintenance of this trail. You could connect it to the Vermont trail. I’ve hiked from Vermont to Spring village. It’s not that difficult. This is different. It’s a unique experience of St Vincent. It was a really nice trail the government has abandoned.It wouldn’t cost that much to make it tourist friendly, for Buccament tourists. It was my favourite trail on the island although Grieggs has a lot to offer. Grieggs is much more difficult to get to. The road to the beginning of the Cumberland trail will need some improvement. The local farmers will love that. It’s your next Vermont Trail, will be visited by hundreds of tourists at the new Buccament resort..It just needs a better road and some maintenance. I love it, hike it every year, and tourists will love it, and write about it, like me.

  6. Nice comments but essentially naive or impractical.

    Most of what you say about the Buccament Bay re: cruise ship passengers will disappear if the resort is reopened: there will be very restricted access (as there was before the resort went backrupt with the private bridge being the main access point) and no beach sunbathing above the high tide level.

    Actually, Mt. Wynne Bay is a much better snorkelling venue.

    More socialism? Give me a break! Also a stagnant population (made stagnant through the migration of those between 20-35) is a sure recipe for greater dependency of those under 18 and over 55.

    Most tourists do not use nor want to use the jam packed and loud music public transportion system.

    A poor AirBnB tourist like you is not the way to build a mass tourism industry, the only real option for the mainland given the limited nature of eco-tourism compared to other places and the way large-scale eco-tourism is environmentally destructive.

  7. To be sure, Bret Lutsky is only one of many secured creditors whose legal rights the courts cannot ignore.

    I can’t believe that this huge mess could be cleared up in three short years when far less complicated bankruptcy and property disputes take much longer to resolve. We are not being given the straight goods on this issue partly because this is not a public affair as such but a strictly private business arrangement rooted in Ralph Gonsalves’ desperate effort to attract any tourist development, however sketchy, on the mainland.

    This photo op at the Buccament Bay secondary school may have merely been a publicity stunt to promote a non-existent resort opening date. We should all be wary of anyone as closely allied to Gonsalves as Kelly Glass is said to be.

    This is not rocket science. We have been badly burned several times by overseas investors.

    1. It will be very interesting to see if Mrs Gonsalves gets an automatic contract for interior design.

  8. HELLO………..WHY DONT YOU POST MY OTHER COMMENTS TO REBUT MR. MAN ,
    YOU POST WHAT YOU WANT AND LEAVE OUT WHAT YOU WANT .

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