The Other Side Of The Sam Lord’s Castle Matter
Barbadians remember with sadness when the Cunard Group sold the Paradise property on Black Rock to Jamaican businessman and owner of Sandals Resort Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. The transfer of ownership occurred in 1992 and it would be thirteen long years before a group led by hotel magnate Michael Pemberton and partner Robin Paterson of Cinnamon 88 fame would be able to wrestle the Paradise property away from Stewart. Barbadians would have been fed the story by Stewart of high taxes and inordinate government red tape which deterred him from developing the property. Affecting his decision as well would have been a law suit brought by American businessman William Everett Locke Jr who claimed Stewart reneged on an agreement to sell him the property for US19 million.
The once beautiful Paradise property without the required maintenance quickly became derelict and an embarrassment to an island which has tourism still as its key productive sector. History will judge the players who frustrated the Paradise deal very harshly.
How could a premium beach-front property have been allowed to run to ruin in one of the leading tourist destinations in the world?
A few years later and refusing to learn from history Barbados finds itself in a similar position with the Sam Lord’s Castle property. Grant Hotels Inc a local concern purchased the property from Marriott’s around 2001 and quickly racked up several millions dollars in debt. At the time a cash rich CLICO made the bid to purchase the property and after several court battles appeared to have been successful over other suitors.
Stories have been written which blame CLICO for the derelict state Sam Lord’s Castle has become but BU understands there are mitigating factors at play. The latest information we have indicates Doyle, the owner of the beautiful Crane property has hired Mottley to represent him in the legal battle to gain ownership of the Sam Lord’s Castle property. While it is Doyle’s right to exercise all legal avenues to win title of the St. Philip properly, the effort would tie the transfer of title up in court for years.
The intended action by Doyle and the expected consequence may have influenced the government of Barbados to begin proceedings to compulsory acquire the property to make for an easier sale. It appears there are many interested buyers based on word on the ground.
BU supports any effort to resuscitate the Sam Lord’s property sooner rather than later. Barbados depends heavily on tourism and to have a major property like Sam Lord’s remain idle translates to less foreign exchange to the government’s coffer.
While CLICO is party to the transaction there are lose ends which would have barred CLICO from claiming clear title to the Sam Lord’s Castle property.