Four Seasons refinancing defended
Minister oF Tourism Richard Sealy is adamant that the Government made the right decision in helping refinance the now stalled Four Seasons project, despite the fact that numerous dates for resumption of construction have not been met.
Work on the near $1/2 billion hotel and residential development at Paradise Beach, St Michael, came to a halt in 2009 after the developers ran into financial difficulties.
Up to now, after several dates given for recommencing, there has been no more construction; but Sealy is still 100 per cent behind the project.
He said the administration, under late Prime Minister David Thompson, had made a good move when it guaranteed the borrowing of US$60 million that would give it equity share in the project.
“I think it was right for Government to get involved to try to see that we can get Four Seasons going, particularly the hotel component,” he told the SUNDAY SUN yesterday. “It would do a lot to add to us as a destination, which is why the Government got involved.
“It is an excellent brand, it is a brand that has a very good reputation . . . . and so if we’re an aspirational destination, it would make sense for us to have it.
I sincerely hope that can happen.”
The trouble is that the benefits of having the planned 110-room hotel – which will cost about US$125 million to build, according to previous estimates by executive chairman of Paradise Beach Limited, Professor Avinash Persaud – won’t be realized until the construction is back on stream.
Pressed about the details of the holdup and when work was likely to resume, the minister only repeated he was looking forward to seeing something being done in earnest “soon”.
Efforts to contact Persaud were unsuccessful up to press time.
But in an interview with THE?NATION in March, he said six villa owners were expected to sign off on their property designs by the end of that month, effectively opening the door for major construction to resume.
At that time, he also said the villas were self-financing and the company had had all the money it needed for the next 12 months.