Following Grenada’s Business Facilitation Script

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon. Tillman Thomas recently described the purchase of the former La Source by Sandals as ‘a potential game-changer for our tourism industry’. He went on to say, the entry of resort company Sandals to Grenada’s market is ‘a tide that could lift all boats’. I think he is right, perhaps in more ways that we can initially anticipate. What is remarkable about this ‘deal’ is the timing, which must make it at least a candidate for the quickest hotel acquisition ever in the Guinness Book of Records.

It was reported that La Source only closed around the 19th October, when 150 workers were laid-off. Yet, within three weeks the Government of Grenada ‘facilitated their (Sandals) investment with a package of incentives’. While other administrations around the region hesitated, procrastinated and some may even imply, might have adopted a form of hibernation akin to prolonged sleep. Perhaps galvanized by the negative consequences of revenue and employment losses and the danger of possibly losing airlift, someone picked up the phone and made the move.

Among the immediate benefits of the arrangement are, massive media destination awareness coverage, reaching millions of people worldwide without it costing the Grenada Board of Tourism a single cent. With a projected re-opening date of 15th December 2012, it will give a huge boost to the upcoming critical winter season. Many loyal Sandals clients will also want to sample the brand, in a new and exciting location. And as PM Tillman so astutely observed, was pleased at the ‘promise of the transfer of skills to Grenadians and an improvement of service in the industry’.

Sandals founder Gordon “Butch’ Stewart has indicated his intention to take the re-named Sandals La Source Grenada Resort and Spa from its current 100 rooms up to 265 guest rooms, private cottages and bungalows over the course of the next ten years. Many of which will be concierge and butler level including the brand’s signature Rondoval suites. As this happens, employment will grow and there will be a positive trickle down effect on the entire local economy.

Mr. Stewart wasted no time with an announcement and images already posted on the corporate website for the travel trade and consumers all to see around the globe. It appears a total win-win situation for everybody and kudos should naturally go to all those involved who made it possible.

It is difficult not to draw a comparison with the Almond Beach Village situation, where seven months after closure with the loss of nearly five hundred jobs, no happy conclusion seems to be in sight. Already we are suffering the negative effects of reduced airlift and as further time goes by, it will become even more difficult to re-open the property in its rapidly deteriorating condition.

If it gets to a point where upgrading the existing plant becomes nonviable, we all know just how long it would take to re-build and open a superior alternative. For those that can recall, Almond Casuarina provided a classic example of that scenario.

0 thoughts on “Following Grenada’s Business Facilitation Script

  1. Perhaps with an unemployment rate of 30% plus it occurred to the government of Grenada there was a pressing need to get it done.

    In Barbados there maybe the belief that with unemployment at 12% the need is not that urgent to complete the Almond Village deal.

  2. All Sandals wants in Barbados is a guarantee of a legally PRIVATE BEACH and they will be there.

    Of course they will want the usual tax concessions and incentives but a PRIVATE BEACH is the game changer.

  3. Antigua facillitated Allan Stanford in less time than Grenada fix up arrogant Butch. A real game changer for Antigua Barbuda. The rest is history.

  4. If Bushie had to pick one thing that is most responsible for the state in which our world finds itself today, it would be the single-mindedness with which so many people make decisions based solely on the bottom line.
    There are many more dimensions to living, and the present state of our world is testimony to the folly of bottom line focused decision making.

    Life is much more complex than tourism numbers.

  5. You guys hold too high a tide expectations for one Sealy. Having a good look now I think this Ministry is in the wrong hands..Give to Senator Irene Sandiford Garner….bet you see a difference…

  6. would be interesting to know how much butch paid for the hotel. or could it be a similiar deal to white house sandals jamaica getting it for nothing at the taxpayers expense,

  7. what i would prefer is that if taxpayers paid for a property that they be represented fairly and not like the taxpayers of jamaica having to get the shitty end of the stick or like the bahamanians who are being asked to bail out one of his hotels in order to stop closure, butch not easy maybe that is why our govt is being cautious in dealing with him cause he wants all on the perception he gives a lot but people should be aware of his upper handiness when making deals it is all about butch govts must look out for the best interest of the taxpayers it might take a while but the right way is the only way,btw i have read about the white house deal and the repercussions which is scandulous and review boards looking into how the deal was done and butch effort in trying to slowdown the process ,

  8. @ac

    Market will determine price and risk. In a Caribbean carrying heavy debt and employment the deep pocket investor will have the advantage around the negotiating table in the prevailing conditions.

    Remember, no guarantees!

  9. no david when a govt is strapped for cash it is not right to giveaway the taxpayers property and that is what the govt of jamaica did .now we talk about freedom and the govt looking out for the best interest how could a property that cost millions of dollars to the taxpayers be giving away for less than a fraction of its price.

  10. ac, you appear to have a short memory. The previous Government ploughed a quoted BDS$400 million (David Thompson) into the GEMS project to disadvantage the 120 (then, but less now) small hotels by systematic predatory pricing, bringing many private sector hotels to their knees.
    Under this Government two of the GEMS properties have been leased at a rate far less than the real cost.

    So who is giving away taxpayers monies?

  11. @ David
    Is this the same Butch Stewart who held the Paradise site ransom for years?
    Do you know that Paradise was probably the single best hotel site anywhere in the region in terms of developmental potential?


  12. @ Hants | November 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM |
    “All Sandals wants in Barbados is a guarantee of a legally PRIVATE BEACH and they will be there.”

    And what is wrong with that?

    He should also insist on a casino and a “Smoke” house using only the best of the Blue Mountain blend. He should also insist on an irrevocable 25 year licence to run a cabaret and private club for those so inclined.

    Well if Bajans don’t want this sort of thing then they can’t expect to live the material highlife which requires forex and a bit of prostitution in between.
    Either sell your soul to live big as Bajans are doing or return to the land and live within their resource scare simple means.
    The forex ball is in the Bajan sweet life court.

  13. It would be most interesting and certainly informative to hear Butch Stewart views on the Barbados Tourism product. Also to get a frank assessment of the officials in the local tourism business especially at the Ministerial and BTA levels.

  14. Adrian if the properties are leased there is a chance for financial recovery and also in the process if the state of the economy improves in real estate market the govt have an additional advantage of selling to the highest bidder but selling a taxpayers property including land which was worth about 120million US for 40million with additional incentives is madness.

  15. Great idea, as long as it is not funded by the taxpayers, it does not seem that the hoteliers need the slow moving government to pull this off directly, way I see it the hoteliers have made enough good networking contacts over the years of plenty to do something to upgrade tourism in bim without involving the taxpayers money.

    • Interesting to hear how Bahamas has started to strategize to anticipate the lifting of the US embargo on Bahamas. It is widely accepted that the Bahamas product and service level is ahead of Barbados. We should be warned!

  16. On another vexing note, butch stewart should not be allowed to own or manage any hotels in the caribbean, particularly bim, look at all the simmering hatred in Jamaica. He has no respect for black people and believes money has only one color, white. Time for this breed of idiots to die out so the world can move on to a more intelligent footing.

  17. @ David | November 19, 2012 at 9:27 AM |

    We have already been warned.
    The lifting of the US embargo on Cuba will certainly put the proverbial cat among the pigeons as far as tourism in Bim and the East Caribbean is concerned.

    Unless Bim starts strategizing to make its product more attractive we will witness in our life time the death of this industry.
    The question is: Do we have the kind of planners to think outside the box and see the coming Cuban tsunami that has been of the horizon for sometime now? Both the Brits and the North Americans are beginning to flock to a more unspoilt, exotic, culturally appealing and less expensive Cuba.

  18. Do you really think that our tourism policymakers have even thought about the implications of CUBA opening up completely to the US market?

    Look at the long stay arrival figures (all markets):

    2011 – 2,716, 317 – UP 4 per cent
    2010 – UP 6.8 per cent
    2009 – UP 4.7 per cent
    2008 – UP 5.2 per cent

    Even looking at the first eight months of 2012 – UP 5.2 per cent

    During the SAME 4 years and 8 months Barbados has experienced ABSOLUTELY no growth whatsoever. Presumably the same recession is effecting their traditional markets as well?

  19. Barbados is visible loosing the innovation battle when it comes to ideas on what to do with our tourism industry primarily due to what I call a reverse intellectual crisis …. The folks leading our tourism industry appear to be book smart but lack entrepreneurial understanding needed at this time.

  20. adrien may be if the hoteliers would pay back the govt loans and govt cut subsidies youwould get yuh money Fuh over the years the givt have pumped millions of taxpayers money in the industry where in the world does that happen expect in ooor developing countries

  21. i absolutely agree with richard stoute assesment ingiving our local talent more exposure in the hotels especially some of the big name brands for one it wouild show their appreciation of our culture and at least one can see some area in where the subsidies are going as of now all we here is that it help with gainful employment well fuh christ sake there are plenty bajans unemployed that can do with a job it would be even nicer if some of them big name hotels would take on a couple since the subsidies from the govt have not subsided and one or two workers wouldn’t hurt .

  22. While in Barbados the ARTS have to fight to showcase talent/culture not so in Cuba. It is part of the flow.

    maybe adrien can tell why is it so?

    • @ac

      Any ordinary Barbadian who lives in Barbados can tell you the answer.

      When a people is proud to flaunt what is flowing from its DNA it contrasts starkly with Barbadians who prefer to flaunt what belong to others.

  23. @ ac | November 19, 2012 at 7:11 PM |

    Maybe you can tell us why Cuba is on a massive programme of privatization and divestment to economically enfranchise its workers?

    You are just an economic Neanderthal living among the political dinosaurs that not even Cuba or China would recognize as alive today.

  24. look miller i read that socalled lease agreement that cuba have with its citizen only you would see something good in that poopie show . the people lease and fix up the property and the govt collects so much for privatization i hope that is not the next round of privitization salvo you and OSA have in the works. Wufless bunch.

  25. btw miller the properties the ciban govt leasing are old and unfixable like castro after several years of disrepair the govt now seems fit to unload them on the people sounds like what you and OSA trying to do here . Bug off. now take your pissy brass bowl of Privatizationtricks and shove them nobody interested.

  26. david
    When a people is proud to flaunt what is flowing from its DNA it contrasts starkly with Barbadians who prefer to flaunt what belong to others.

    i don’t understand what you are saying here. our culture is made up of diversity in the arts as well in music. how can’t those in the hotel industry owners and managers could not be aware of this and be willing to showcase our talents in an enviroment that entertains internationl visitors i believe it boils down to one thing that those in the hotel industry has no respect or could not give too hoots about or industry and its local talent reminiscent of the days when blacks were not allowed to serve whites and could only be cooks or dishwashers ! what else could it be. What else!

  27. @ ac | November 19, 2012 at 8:10 PM |

    Your reaction or response only confirms that you are boxed in a corner with crap exuding from your large talkative visible orifice instead of the one Nature intended.

    The miller has you where he wants you. He only has to put his other ‘foot’ in your mouth to shut you up on this Cuban threat.
    Stop cussing and denigrating Cuba. Look within for the problems Barbados has engendered for itself. Cussing others will not help at this stage, ac. We shall see where the tourist birds migrate to the Caribbean this winter. Will there be a Cinderella stop over for Bim?

    • It is the fact that Cuba is an ‘old’ place which will provoke curiosity by those who want to explore off the beaten track. We like to bring our biases based on politics into the mix.

  28. I saw a letter written in one of grenada.s newspaoer by adrien praising the govt of grenada for facillitating a fire sale of record time to butch stwewart but it seems that the govt so far is sitting on the details of the record breaking deal.

  29. @ac

    Are Grenadians unhappy with the deal? BU checked our sources over there and the feeling is that is a win win position. Perhaps if you were part of the 40% unemployed you would be receptive to public private sector arrangements. We are living in extraordinary times which calls for compromise and sacrifice some times.










      Hugh Foster
      Ministry of Tourism

  30. I don’t like the terms of the Grenada agreement with Stewart. A tax holiday for 25 years is practically unheard of. Ten years max on property tax and reduced corp. taxes would be more reasonable. Seven year tax holiday on consumers goods to allow a good start-up, or duty free imports of furniture, furnishings and fixtures, yes.

    All of this freeness just to give some Grenadians some low paying service jobs. I cant believe it. Something similar to what was given to Sandy Lane would be more reasonable. I am sure it was not 25 years.

    I would not recommend this to any Minister. In fact, I probably would have been fired if I did. It is a hotel, but it is a business just like any other. The rich are getting richer from this deal.

    What about the private beach? Did he get that too? Poor Grenadians.

  31. can one in imagine the amount of money in taxes butch going into put in his pocket by the time he finished counting he would be able to purchase the tiny island .and in addition get the hotel for no cost when all the additional incentives are incluided ,low classprostitution on the govts part.

    • Do you guys understand what 40% unemployment can do to a country? Do you know Grenada has been struggling to service its debt of late?

  32. @ David
    “Do you guys understand what 40% unemployment can do to a country?”
    Yes! …makes it harder to keep one’s pride.
    It can make prostitution look quite attractive. But there are some persons who will have no problem with that…

  33. @ ac | November 20, 2012 at 6:39 PM |

    Why don’t you stop attacking Butch Stewart? Is it because he is “white creole” foreigner from Jamaica?
    Why are you so much against enterprise and business?
    Instead of criticising Butch’s investment efforts in the Eastern Caribbean why don’t you ask Chris Sinckler and the PM when will the Four Seasons project be restarted.
    We have a vandalised derelict Sam Lord’s Castle in the East are we going to have a graveyard of steel and concrete in the West too?
    Maybe the spirits of the Ameridians have retaliated for the disturbance and unearthing done to their ancestors’ graves and former habitat.

  34. hey miller my crticism of grenada govt strikes a raw nerve or is it because it comes across as the same bogus plans that the blp has for the country of barbados by a having a fire sale on the peoples assets to settle debt.

  35. @ ac | November 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM |

    Forget about the BLP for now.
    What about the Four Seasons restart project? Why has the DLP gone silent on this project? Is it because the IADB has backed off until the restructuring aka privatization of certain sections and agencies in the public sector is undertaken?

    If Butch were to take it over and agree to finish it but under the Sandals Brand (as he wanted to do with the old Paradise Resort) would you object and call it a fireside sale and selling off our national assets to foreigners thus denting our pride and selling out the industry?

  36. If Butch were to take it over and agree to finish it but under the Sandals Brand (as he wanted to do with the old Paradise Resort) would you object and call it a fireside sale and selling off our national assets to foreigners thus denting our pride and selling out the industry?


    • This is a region heavily leveraged with debt, there is no wriggle room for many of our islands. In case some have forgotten Grenanda has defaulted on government treasuries in the past. Our little islands have milked the models which have served them well in the past but it is time for equilibrium to take place. We have been living above our means.

  37. miller if butch comes in and take over sure but at what price to the taxpayers,, i can imagine another deal in which the taxpayers would have to pay a long term subsizies disguise as incentives for years to come and govt footing the bail out when the profit margins take a nose dive another form of socialism for the rich and capitailism for the poor.

  38. The govts of grenadaand jamaica has been failures and all that is happening now exposes their failures and as aresult the taxpayers having to foot the bill and fix it uppers schemes ofof the rich in a govt effortof hoping to retrieve financial assests and in some cases where thes schemes fail the taxpayer again is/looked upon for help in bailing out these entities when they are unable of deliver the pie in the sky promises offered to them by government and private deals the sandals exuma is an example.

  39. david my pointof concern is about goverance and by that peoples involvement is/critical in the final outconme allowing the people to know what parts of the negotiations/are favourable to people and country and not a closed shop approach on the one promise of jobs.

  40. @ ac | November 21, 2012 at 6:26 AM |
    “.. i can imagine another deal in which the taxpayers would have to pay a long term subsizies disguise as incentives for years to come and govt footing the bail out when the profit margins take a nose dive another form of socialism for the rich and capitailism for the poor.”

    Ac, are you forgetting that the government is administered by the DLP?
    Are you saying that DLP will sell out the taxpayers and screw the poor people of Barbados?
    Don’t you have faith in your party or are you expecting such a scenario of giving in to Butch’s demands to occur under an incoming BLP administration just around the corner?

    Surely the Four Seasons situation can’t go on for another 5 years whichever party is in power. Maybe you have written off the restart of that Four Season project. Since it started under OSA you can always blame its failure on him. Is that OK with you ac? Just blame OSA and his 14 years of mismanagement for the Four Seasons fiasco.

  41. Four season not going to go on for ever nor will it be left to die a slow death and also it would not to given away to the modern day one armed bandits with boldness and cunning motives

  42. @ ac | November 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM |

    Oh dearest ac, the Soothsayer of BU, please look into your crystal ball and tell us what’s in store for the Four Seasons. Will it be another Spring leading Summer or most likely Winter since it is right now in its Fall.

    Who will rescue the project?
    Will it be the failed quack professore a contratto e peripatetico Persaud?

    What about the IADB cum NIS investment fishing bait?
    Will we see major re-structuring aka privatization demanded by the IMF before IADB commercial paper money is poured down the drain of a sinkhole defined as full of junk by the rating agencies?

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