Saving Almond Beach Village At What Cost

Almond Beach Village beachfront

Neal & Massy (52% shareholder) delivered the Almond Mess lo Barbadians last week which has knocked CLICO from the front page of the Nation newspaper for the moment. A scan of that paper’s front page this morning should create some concerns for Barbadians. Bjorn Bjerkham is mentioned as one of about four parties bidding for the 30-acre beachfront Almond Beach Village property in St. Peter. If Bjerkham gets his wish a small island is about to be divvied up between COW Williams and himself with CLICO’s significant land holding currently encumbered as a result of its publicised demise.

In the case of Bjerkham Barbadians may want to sit up and take notice. If he is able to acquire the Almond Beach Village property, he gets control of the greatest portion of St. Peter coastline – he already owns St. Peter’s Bay in the Road View area. Remember he is currently working on redesigning the Six Mens area with the Port Ferdinand marina project. For those who are familiar with the area try to visualize if Bjerkham is able to acquire Almond Beach Village property with its vast beachfront.

Officially our government boasts that there are no private beaches in Barbados but if Bjerkham is allowed to acquire Almond beach front it is akin to creating a private beach front in Barbados by effectively blocking off access at both ends. Whether by accident or design our laws of public beach access in Barbados are being circumvented by those who have deep pockets.

So what is new anyway!

If that was not enough to consider look who else is reported to be in the bidding for Almond Beach Village, none other than Paul Doyle of Skeete’s Bay fame! His plan to privatise Skeete’s Bay did not go well after protests by Mac Fingall and residents of Bayfield, he seems to be trying a thing on the west coast. It makes one wonder how did Neal & Massy (ARI) manage to lose this property screwing the 48% minority shareholders along the way.

To cap it all, our sources suggest to be wary of Ritz Carlton. It is true that we need brand name hotels in Barbados but at what cost. Take a look at what happened in St. Lucia when Ritz Carlton was supposed to be built there.

It is now going to cost the new Ken Anthony Government in St. Lucia almost US$60 million to buy back their own lands in very difficult economic times. This story has other meanings for Barbadians as far as the Four Seasons project here is concerned.

Barbados is a one leg economy, we all know it. Tourism is all we have for the moment and BU believes it must be treated as a strategic asset. There is no doubt the government has to make a deal happen. There is the impact to our major forex earner in a recession which cannot be ignored.

Yes we need to save Almond Beach Village but at what cost.

  • My friend who lives close to the grape vine tells me that the good Doctor is pulling one of his sulks. Apparently he was none too pleased that Frun Frun appointed Richard Sealy to act as PM. Now I don’t know if this is true, but I did see him in a shop in St. Philip when he could not be seen in the House. So he can’t be ill.


  • #Bajan to d bone

    You may recall when he was transferred to agriculture he threatened to do many things but was otherwise persuaded. The DLP has issues and we all know it. The longer they wait to deal with them by electing to band aid the issues the rougher it will be. To those who will raise the point that similar issues exist with the BLP can be answered simply by suggesting the average voter is more comfortable with Arthur than Stuart at this point because of his perceived track record of success.


  • Now who in the media has been misreprenting the matter. ABV is being closed and that is a fact. All the other stuff is horse manure.


  • Not so fast David. Some “other stuff” that is important: did N&M enter in negotiations with the union re. staff? What can staff expect from N&M? What about the shareholders: what can they expect? Why are ARI shares still being traded on BSE. Is N&M, in its haste to offload ARI, willing to more or less give it away? We’re talking about prime beach front property here.


  • @Independent

    N&M confirmed at the Special Meeting that the staff will be paid severance to comply with law.

    The FSC is the agency to speak to whether to suspend trading in shares.

    Agree that we need more transparency in the sale but at this point what additional can they do except to restage a Special Meeting to allow more minority shareholders to have a say.


  • Agree with you David. So we’ll see.
    N&M say that they want to clear up some misconceptions that are floating around in the press. Wonder if they read BU??:-)). In that case Taylor may want to address some of the veiled and not so veiled accusations leveled at him on this blog….


  • The firing of Ralph Taylor is a black eye for government when one considers he was the blue eye boy of tourism in Barbados and was crowned Chairman of the BTA.


  • Ralph Taylor is just another “fall guy”.

    They let him take the big juicy brass scale, run with it and then pin him.
    Then as he spiralled downward the shark cut him in half.and they cut the line and let the rest eat him.

    Old Onion bags claim to be a fisherman so he can deconstruct the above metaforic paragraph.


  • independent wrote “Taylor may want to address some of the veiled and not so veiled accusations leveled at him on this blog”.

    Taylor needs to do damage control to protect himself from lawsuits and he has enough experience in the hotel industry to rise from the ashes.

    He made some mistakes. He is human.


  • @Hants

    Taylor is a little Napoleon who show now have an appreciation for team work.


  • Adrian Loveridge

    During the press conference , Gervase Warner referred to N&M ploughing $24 million into Almond (and I thought he said specifically ABV) over the last 24 months. Were these operational losses or debt servicing?
    IF it refers to ABV alone, then it makes no sense, as it would mean with an average annual occupancy of 80 per cent, they would have lost $104.40 for every occupied room night over that 24 month period.
    There are an awful lot of questions that need to be answered.


  • Adrian Loveridge “Gervase Warner referred to N&M ploughing $24 million into Almond “.

    So the little Napolean was so powerful that his bosses gave him $24million to waste.

    What does Parris and Taylor have that they could mammguy Trini Bosses ?

    It would be interesting to find out how much of the food,liquor and other supplies were bought ffrom N&M owned companies?
    Get my drift?


  • You guys have missed the point completely….Ralph Taylor is not a loser here!!!!

    He ends up with a lot of businesses, assets, money and out of the sight of the media is laughting all the way to the bank!

    I’m sure his businesses were fed off of Almond and Massy money!

    The Trinis and bajan non-management stock holders were HAD….taken to the bank, taken to the cleaners!!

    Ralph for a long time was untouchable: head of Almond, head of Barbados Tourism, Head of Caribbean Tourism this & that; free to do whatever he wanted; key officials of both parties; key elements of the media (have you ever seen a negative Ralph Taylor article in any of the local papers? why not???) How could a CEO have so many business conflicts without ever a question as to the negative impacts/negative potential impacts?

    I must hand it to him….he played the game well!


  • @TooManyLawyers wrote “he played the game well!”

    The game ain’t over yet.



    There is a lot we can deduce from the above story. The BU intelligentia can comment.


  • @Hants

    Believe BU that Taylor had to go. It is clear N&M has placed the blame of the ARI financial situation on Taylor’s decision (and his board of directors at the time) to expand in the aggressive way they he (they) did.

    Now that Taylor is on his way out perhaps he can explain the following position if Almond spent most of 2008 revamping its products. What happened?


  • I’m a former employee of Almond Beach Resorts and witnessed first hand the mismanagement of this organization. Ralph Taylor has raped the company as well as it’s employees of everything that they had and has now left them with nothing. He has been allowed to do this for years with no one challenging him on the questionable and risky business decisions he has made over the years. From the beginning Almond Beach Resorts kept two sets of accounting books – one that was presented to the auditors and the shareholders and then the real books showing his mismanagement. Ralph has a lot to account for and should be brought up on charges for mismanagement, embezzlement and fraud.


  • Bimshire Boy
    From the beginning Almond Beach Resorts kept two sets of accounting books – one that was presented to the auditors and the shareholders and then the real books showing his mismanagement. Ralph has a lot to account for and should be brought up on charges for mismanagement, embezzlement and fraud.
    Why don’t you inform the relevant bodies now…….(annon-Crime Fighters). as you got nothing to lose ? Who knows you may be rewarded..


  • The view of this hotelier concerning Taylor’s role in the hotels demise reconciles with BU’s. Now taxpayers may have to bail this thing:


  • Adrian Loveridge

    Down to Brass Tacks TODAY – Sunday at 11am –
    What went wrong with Almond Resorts?


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