From Private to Public – Cinnamon 88 to CLEARWATER BAY, a concern for taxpayers

It started as a private project in 2006 under the name Cinnamon 88 Ltd and through the years morphed to Clearwater Bay Ltd a company registered to do business in 2010. The project has straddled both administrations starting with the late David Thompson and now rest uneasily with the incumbent Mottley who was a legal advisor to the failed project while in opposition. An interesting side note – Avinash Persaud also played a role and would have assisted in him being able to drive the luxury sports car he zips .

We fast forward to the recent 2021 Auditor General report with the following note on Clearwater Bay Ltd can be found.

In my 2018 and 2020 Reports, I indicated that there were some concerns surrounding the accounting treatment of a loan guarantee made by the Government of Barbados through its’ company, Clearwater Bay Limited in the sum of $120 million. This guarantee was in relation to the construction of the proposed Four Seasons managed hotels and villas. The sum of $120 million had appeared in the books of the Government as a receivable for a number of years but was completely written off in 2018. I had previously indicated that enough information was not provided to my Office as to the nature of the arrangement between Clearwater Bay Limited and the developers. I also stated that, in any event, the entire $120 million should not be written off since the lands on which the project was being built were valuable; instead the value in the accounts should be written down rather than to be completely written off.

Based on information made available to my Office, Clearwater Bay held a mortgage over the real property and after the loan was called, Government was required to honor its guarantee and a payment of $124.3 million was paid to the bank. Action was then taken by the Government company to recover the monies expended through a sale of the property.

Audit Update

In respect of the sale of the property, a review of the records at the Land Registry Department indicates that the property has been conveyed to a private company. However, there is no evidence of consideration being paid. Matters surrounding the sale and ownership of this property are complicated and is currently the subject of litigation which is ongoing.

2021 Auditor General Report

See relevant BU blog on CLEARWATER BAY MATTER

Remove the Silence Shrouding Sam Lord’s Castle Project

Sam Lord’s story needs to be shared with us. It’s been a while now and it is important that the developments in the hotel sector are shared with all. The debt restructuring starting is also positive for us. Again they have only spoken to $500M worth of the debt so we need more info on the bigger picture here too – John A

Barbadians in this forum and elsewhere have expressed deep concern about how successive governments have allowed the idyllic Paradise Beach location to rot. It is an unpardonable sin what we have permitted and it is time Barbadians wake up and demand accountability for managing our affairs.  To rub salt in the wound Avinash Persaud and Prime Minister Mia Mottley played leading roles in what is popularly referred to as Four Seasons project. Shame!

As if it is not enough for our leaders to demonstrate contempt for the electorate and continual misuse of public funds seen at Paradise Beach, the potential exist for the same to occur at another idyllic and historic location.

In 2015 the former government negotiated concessionary financing to  restore the historic Sam Lords Castle. It is useful to remind Barbadians that Sam Lord’s Castle was built in 1820 and like Paradise and several other historic sites have been allowed to run to ruin. The most recent occurrence – deliberately destroyed by government with the blessing of the Barbados National Trust –   an archeological find at Fort George.

It is approaching 2 years since the former government broke ground at Sam Lord’s Castle to mobilize a loan of $170 million from the Chinese Export-Import Bank. Sam Lord’s when or if completed will be operated by hotel management company Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Another project with a similar feel is the hotel to be built next to the liquidated Liquidation Centre on Bay Street reported to be managed by Hyatt when completed. What is positive about the Hyatt project is that there is an individual driving about Barbados in a duty free gifted Mercedes associated with the project. Maybe, just maybe this project will be completed.

It has been reported that the Chinese have vacated the Sam Lord’s Castle property and like Paradise, Merricks and several other tourism projects scattered across the island have been left to rot. Will we ever learn?

How will this government and others achieve objectives set to turn around the economy if projects cannot be brought to completion? This is where BLP, DLP and others will enter the debate to point fingers. Silly!

This blogmaster joins with John A to ask the Mia Mottley government to update the nation on the status of the Sam Lord’s Project. A followup question – has the default on debt affected this project? It is the right thing to do by a government preaching a message of being transparent.



JADA’s Secret Company (Pharliciple) Listed in the Database Paradise Papers – PARADISE GONE

The startling revelation made public by Barbados Underground on February 20, 2018that the government of Barbados SOLD what Barbadians refer to as Paradise or Four Seasons needs a fuller explanation by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. Now that the parliament has been dissolved his promise to Barbadians that the matter would have been debated will have to wait until after the general elections.

There is really no need to be prolix on the need for the government to be transparent about this matter IF it has nothing to hide. What are the details of the transaction with Pharliciple Inc, the company registered by Philip Tempro and Bjorn Bjerkham of CAHILL fame to support the Paradise Four Season Clearwater, Cinnamon 88 deal. It is interesting to note that Bjerkham sits on the Board of the Central Bank. Does the Barbados Labour Party have a role to play especially against the background its leader Mia Mottley was legal counsel for one of the key players at the early stage when government attempted to salvage the original plan for the project as conceived by Pemberton and company.

Click on image to search the Database for other companies e.g. Paradise, Cinnamon 88, Clearwater etc

It is a Paradise – A Decaying Physical Infrastructure

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. We take no pleasure posting the following pictures which reflect our decaying physical infrastructure. We go further to opine that it is a sad reflection of our inability to effectively and efficiently manage our tiny country. For partisan political reasons many will not want to admit it but it is the truth. If we love our country we need to pull it back!

It is not about the quantum of taxpayers resources allocated to build stalls near to Golden Square to accommodate the displaced vendors from Fairchild Street market, it is about the lack of management to ensure it was efficiently executed.

The three pictures of the dilapidated erection meant to shield the public’s view of one of the most beautiful vistas on our coastline must be described as a ‘sin’.  Do we need to remind the country that Bridgetown and its environs is categorized as a world heritage site?

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Paradise LOST

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler updated Barbadians in November 2014 that the Paradise deal was very close to being finalized – “…new equity partners have been found and are now doing their due diligence and once that exercise is completed, they too will sign up. Once that happens, Government will then be repaid its resources, and the project can get started shortly after that…”. In the absence of confirmation Barbadians remain hopeful this is the case.

Special thanks to BU family member Due Diligence

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Beware of Streets Lined with Gold

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

Paradise Development rumoured to being sold for a parayer.

Paradise Development in limbo

When people don’t make use of their history, they are bound to repeat mistakes. Recall the Battle of Waterloo, think for one moment how Napoleon would fall for a similar Wellington’s ploy of deception, and engage a third of his French infantry on a pedestrian bridge that led to nowhere? Obviously not, once bitten twice shy. We should always learn from our mistakes or we doomed to repeat them. The great Napoleon would.

Recall another famous general Hannibal,… think he would ever consider marching his army of ten million elephants and men, into the Alps in the near winter months regardless how lucrative the potential outcome? Doubtful indeed. We have  the Greeks and the Trojan Horse, yet another to proffer. History is loaded with great men falling to mistakes while reaching for superior possibilities. Less we forget “All that glitters is not gold, often is the weary traveller told.”

We all  at sometime make mistakes (to err is human), but we should at all cost avoid repeating them regardless of circumstance, no matter the potential outcomes. Beware of bearers of fine gifts, remember the dog and the bone. A bird in hand is worth three in the bush. The people of Black Rock and its echelons would surely sanctify that, as for them while streets promised were to be paved with gold… Paradise Lost was never re-found, all left was a debauched Four Seasons. A real bad omen that, when a leprechaun smell can be sniffed back to one man.

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Four Seasons a Project for All Seasons

Four Seasons struggles to restart

Four Seasons struggles to restart

In the coming days leading up to the General Election – to be held on the 21 February 2013 – BU will be raising issues which we hope will be ventilated and explained on the campaign trail. The first is the vexing issue of the stalled Four Seasons project which has been forced from the public eye because of the CLICO and Alexandra issues among others.

It is fair to say that for most Barbadians the inability of all concerned to restart the Four Seasons project remains a big concern. BU believes the project is now suffering from a crisis of confidence. It is no secret the Barbados economy is a beast which must be fed forex to sustain itself. That it would take as long as it has to restart the project – harsh economic conditions notwithstanding –  challenges our ability to prioritize and manage the issues.

The news coming from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler last week that the government will be issuing a good news update about the project very soon is being eagerly awaited.  The usually loquacious Avinash Persaud has been persuaded to defer to government making the announcement, possibly at tomorrow night’s mass political meeting at Bay Street.

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The State Of Villa Stock In The Caribbean

The video summarizes a Wall Street Journal article which made the rounds this week – Caribbean Getaways Ensnare Buyers. It explains the current state of the villa market in the Caribbean which does not bode well for the Paradise Beach Development (Four Seasons Project). With many similar projects on the skids in the Caribbean this translates to a reserve of villa stock  in a bear market.

Let us wish the professor, NIS Board and Barbados good luck with the project at Paradise.

Financial Meltdown, How Would It Effect Our Fragile Investment In Four Seasons?

Submitted by Old Onion Bags

Greece’s political leaders struck a historic deal Thursday to make deep cuts in government jobs and spending to help save the country from a default that could shock the world financial system.

Greece needs the bailout by March 20 so it will have enough money to redeem €14.5 billion worth of bonds coming due. If it doesn’t make that payment, it will be in default. Financial analysts fear that could set off a chain reaction similar to the financial meltdown triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008.

What would be the implications should the worse happens? What about our already fragile investments in Four Seasons? Shouldn’t we be more prudent and at least wait for the March 20th deadline before swinging another cent . Make “cents” to me, what do you think?

Market And Operations Study Of Four Seasons Barbados Hotel Project

The politically weighed Paradise Beach Development Project (Four Seasons) has become one of several hot potato issues in Barbados of late. Should the government intervene by investing NIS funds?  Are the original investors in the villa properties losing faith? A general election is looming and it is therefore very difficult to determine the motives behind many decisions. What is missing from the national conversation about the Four Seasons Project is empirical information.

Here is a document titled: MARKET AND OPERATIONS STUDY OF THE FOUR SEASONS BARBADOS HOTEL PROJECT which was prepared for the Inter American development Bank, a major stakeholder in the project.

The Four Seasons Project Summarized

Submitted by W. Lorimer

The controversial Four Seasons development

Lest we forget some of the reasons for this project…

Me thinks that people have perhaps become a little too bogged down in the trees of politics and grandstanding and everyone is tired from looking at this too long to see the forest – hopefully this might refresh people’s memories of why this journey began in the first place.

Why has the project taken so long to restart?

Why should the NIS invest?

Why would the Four Seasons project be good for Barbados?

Why does Barbados need Four Seasons?

Did you know…?

1. Four Seasons predict that this will be one of their premier resorts – great kudos to Barbados

2. Four Seasons themselves are investing in the project as a sign of their belief in the project and Barbados – they usually never invest in the development stages of resorts.

3. In the US alone in 2011, over $137 billion was spent on travel  and one of the fastest areas of recovery in this sector is luxury travel so the sooner the Four Seasons project is up and running, the sooner Barbados will be able to tap into this market.

4. The new company, Paradise Beach Limited have put into place the following social initiatives

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Notes From A Native Son: Four Seasons, The End

Hal Austin

The scandal over the national insurance scheme’s so-called investment in the stalled Four Seasons hotel and villa complex has now run its rational course. There is clearly no business or economic case for the investment, despite special pleading from Professor Avinash Persaud, the public face of the development, and a moribund government anxious to make as show of competence before the next general election. The decision to go ahead with the BDS$60m investment, on top of the rest, is political and not economic. It is also quite clearly a failure of the NIS’ fiduciary duty to scheme members and to future generations of claimants.

Recently, according to some reports, Professor Persaud, executive chairman of the troubled project, has been putting his case, with the articulacy that one would expect of one of the brightest economists of his generation. But, as has been the case all along, he has failed to convince that the so-called investment is one that the National Insurance Scheme should have been involved in.

Before looking more closely at what is alleged to be Professor Persaud’s case for the defence, I want to take a closer look at what the NIS should be, and what it is not.

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A Dozen Facts On Four Seasons Barbados

Professor Avinash D. Persaud, Chairman of Paradise Beach Limited

Extracted from the Facebook page of  Avinash D. Persaud posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 12:44am (FB time). Persaud is the Executive Chairman Paradise Beach Limited.

  1. It is a 110-key, Four Seasons operated and managed hotel, at Paradise on the west coast, plus Four Seasons-serviced villas and apartments, in all occupying 33 acres.
  2. The project was suspended in February 2009, as a result of the global financial crisis and the attendant collapse of private sector investment. This challenging environment, in which private investors are often looking for extreme, short-term-returns and un-Barbadian exemptions from labor and environmental laws, stymied a handful of previous rescue attempts.
  3. If the project had failed, 300, largely Barbadian trade creditors would have been left with approximately $34m of debts being unpaid.
  4. Seeking to avoid the adverse economic and reputational consequences of default and buying time to find a long-term solution, the Government guaranteed a $120m loan from ANSA Merchant Bank. No Government cash was transferred but until the guarantee is fully released the Government will appoint 4 of the 8 Directors of Paradise Beach Limited.
  5. If the guarantee is called by ANSA McAl, all lands and assets of Paradise Beach Limited will then transfer to the Government. The lands were independently valued recently at $200m.
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Notes From a Native Son – The Four Seasons ‘Investment’

Hal Austin

The government of Barbados, despite sound public advice, looks set to go ahead with the Bds$50m ‘investment’ in Four Seasons, the holiday project on the West Coast, which in time will become the biggest white elephant since independence. It is clear there is no business economic reason for the decision, as there is none, and the government’s decision to go ahead with pumping taxpayers’ money in to the project is political and not economic.

First, let us look at the only legitimate reasons for any such political intervention: first, job creation; second foreign currency earnings; and third, the need for top end tourist accommodation. Let us deal with the third reason first. Barbados needs further top class hotel accommodation like a hole in the head.

There are more than enough hotel beds available, which even at time of great demand, such as the Cricket World Cup, are still under used. During the CWC, hotels were only 70 per cent occupied. Even so, the government has a huge portfolio of hotels which it is at a lost as to what to do with it.

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