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The 10 villas under construction, as seen on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (iWN photo)
The 10 villas under construction, as seen on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (iWN photo)
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Canadian investors, PACE Developments, are yet to complete any part of Black Sands Resort at Peter’s Hope, three years after breaking ground.

At the ground breaking ceremony in February 2017, the investors had indicated that the project would have taken 24 to 30 months to complete.

However, almost three years on, the project is not ready to receive guests, and, based on the latest information, from Minister of Tourism, Cecil McKie, it would be a further five months before it is.

In Parliament, on Wednesday, Opposition Leader Godwin Friday asked McKie what is the status of the hotel project and, in particular, why has the work been delayed.

The opposition leader also wanted to know when the project is now likely to be completed.

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McKie began his response by noting that the project is financed 100% by PACE Development SVG Inc., and, is therefore, completely a private sector project.

He, however, said that the government carries out oversight through the Physical Planning Department which has to give approvals in keeping with standard construction procedures.

The tourism minister said that the project is being done in three phases, the current phase being the construction of 10 villas, each with five rooms.

McKie said that the government has been advised that the Physical Planning Department has indicated that while they consider the pace of construction to be slow, the infrastructure of the villas meets international standards.

Black Sands Resort
A close-up photo of one of the villa, taken on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (iWN photo)

The minister said that phases 2 and 3 will see the construction of a hotel block, consisting of a further 350 rooms.

This will commence when the villas are completed with phase 2 being the construction of 150 of the remaining 400 rooms.

The minister said the government has been advised that this phase will be completed in 14 months.

“We have also been advised that the project took a break for the Christmas season and that work will recommence on the villas by the end of this month — that is, next week — and will be fully completed utilising 100 workers, all of whom are local.”

The minister said the concrete structures of the villas have been completed, save for the finishing and this government has been advised that they should be fully completed by June this year.

He said that the restaurant, bar, convention centre and walkways will also be completed by the end of this year.

Ask, if, having seen the villas, he thinks that the June completion date is feasible, the minister said:

“I made sure I said ‘We have been advised.’ The Planning Division has been supervising the project. They have indicated that the work is within expected international standards. We have been advised June 2020.

“Like all projects, we expect that there may be overruns but those are the dates we have been given and we have been assured that second phase with the hotel block would move at a quicker pace than the construction of the villas, which were 10 separate buildings.”

At the ground breaking ceremony, Member of Parliament for Central Leeward, Sir Louis Straker had said that the resort, along with his government’s other plans for the area, would make the constituency the “mecca of tourism” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking to iWitness News on the sidelines of the ceremony, Joseph Romano of PACE Developments had said that his company had, in hand, half of the $60 million that the construction of the project was expected to cost.

“There is no mortgage on the property. Cash was paid and we have a large chunk to start the service,” he told iWitness News. The resort is being built on 36 acres of land on a former agricultural estate. The company paid the government EC$7 million for the land. 

6 replies on “Black Sands Resort misses 30-month completion target”

  1. They paid the government EC$7 million, which is about two and a half million US dollars [US$2.5 million] for this huge piece of prime hotel development land, cheaper per square foot than a cheap Indian carpet. Almost any Vincentian business man with money would have paid more than that.

    All the promises and promised completion dates have proven once again that something is seriously wrong.

    Firstly, on the table declared payment money was far too little to be believable, about US$1.64 cents a square foot.

    The total area of land sold was declared as 35 acres which is 43560 square feet to each acre so multiply 43560 by 35 and the total square feet of land is 1,524,600 square feet. Divide 1,524,600 into US$2,500,000 to find cost of a square foot of land = US$ 1.64 a square foot.

    When building projects come to a standstill it always for one of three reasons.
    1/ a dispute with the planning authority [we know it’s not that]
    2/ an engineering problem [we know it’s not that]
    3/ financial problems

    Let’s all just hope and pray that the people who bought the land [PACE] were subjected to proper due diligence. Because a repetition of failure to carry out proper due diligence on the players as in the Harlequin Buccament Bay affair, will cause us further immense damage regionally and beyond.

    Have they fully paid for the land? Do they owe SVG anything? Was a time limit set against completion stages in the project; are there any penalties for failure to complete within a set time?

    Who in government negotiated this deal? Was any part of it negotiated in Cuba?

    We need answers to the above questions to get a real idea of what is actually happening because we cannot rely on the word of government or it’s ministers.

    Three years ago the story from PACE was much the same as their most recent story by IWN above.

  2. You are very correct JOLLY. “Almost any Vincentian business man with money would have paid more than that”. And I know of such a Vincentian who could and would have done so JOLLY!

    PACE are already laughing all the way to the Bank. They really don’t need to do anything more for their profits. All they need to do now is to mothball the project as a land bank sweet deal and laugh even louder in the future, all the way to their bankers by courtesy of the Vincentian dictator.

    Is there something else that we are missing here? Who are laughing at us JOLLY? A nice deal for PACE at our expense one must say!

  3. Tell us the Truth.
    Who is financing the Black Sand Project the Government of Private Developers?

    Is the delay a politcal exploit ot coming Election.?

    Is the set back of the Medical Marijauna into law is it causing the Investors to halts the project ?

    How much money from the Budget will be air mark for that project for electioneering?

    1. Brownsuga gal says:

      You hit the nail on the head… We need to check to see if the company has received its Marijuana license since they expressed in nterest from day one and it would seem that the laws were passed to accommodate them

  4. JOLLY you said of PACE, that “They paid the government EC$7 million” well the ex-pat Vincentian whom I know very well has said, that before the PACE deal was struck without a very public offer of the lands, a well-known Vincentian Accountant with extremely good and close connection to source, had on the source’s behalf, had put to the ex-pat Vincentian the said lands in question at a price of EC$60 million.

    As a result of the high price EC$60 million, the ex-pat Vincentian had declined to make an offer. They further said that at no time were they ever informed that a meagre EC$7 million would have been acceptable.

    In this, there is for sure a very big difference between EC$7 million and EC$60 million, so are we Vincentians missing something here. Should we be far more inquisitive as to what has taken place between those involved in this transaction? Should we demand more answers?

    Also in the news:

    [“Much to the surprise and delight of many Angolans, who had grown tired of watching the former president’s family grow staggeringly wealthy, at least in part from government contracts, and who had long feared the prospect of a Dos Santos political dynasty, President Lourenço – or JLo, as he’s known to all Angolans – moved fast and aggressively against the former “first family”.]

  5. A load of gibberish by McKee. You only have to look at the pictures, which are up to date, to see the contradiction. He also washing his hands clean as if they have nothing to do with it. In another photo, him and Big belly Gonsalves were posing at a similar site for the media. It is either these old men getting senile or developing some kind of conscience-killing disease. Vincentian land is given away while property prices in the Caribbean are above sky high. ULP only seeing dollar signs and the contractors pennies. and the common worker gets nothing (and will soon be on strike for their months of back-pay monies) You never hear ULP doing some construction project on the leeward side. In the grenadines, Dubai and other arabs have already landed. This out is view of the people. A proper whitewash. So that the elite can sit back and pick their teeth.

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