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Maria Bradshaw

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OVER 1 000 jobs are earmarked for Barbadians when the Four Seasons project, located on the former site of Paradise Hotel in Walmer Lodge, St Michael, resumes by the end of September.Avinash Persaud, executive chairman of a body representing stakeholders, told the SUNDAY SUN that an internationally recognised construction management firm would tender and sub-contract to leading Barbadian-based contractors.“Part of the multiple agreements between Paradise, villa owners, Four Seasons, Government and the new lenders is that the work will be carried out on a different basis than before. There will be an internationally recognised construction management firm who will then tender and sub-contract construction work to leading Barbadian-based contractors.“The expectation is that when the work resumes there will be up to 1 000 Barbadian workers on site and the contracts will bring in some BDS$500 million of foreign exchange revenues over the course of the project,” he said.Two weeks ago Prime Minister David Thompson announced that he was signing the Four Seasons Agreement which would get the project back on track.Persaud explained that the signing by the Government of the guarantee was a condition of ANSA Merchant Bank syndicating part of the loan.Government’s role“The condition of the Government guarantee of US$60 million to ANSA Merchant Bank was that the Government will hold a golden share in the project which gives it various rights and vetoes, including the appointment of half of the board of Paradise Beach Limited.” Persaud, a financier, will oversee Paradise Beach Limited’s new independent management company along with Colin Scaife, its chief operating officer. Scaife is a British-born construction management expert with substantial experience with Four Seasons and other luxury hotels.Persaud will chair a board with four Government-appointed directors and four directors appointed by the shareholders of Paradise Beach Limited, who are London-based property investors. Persaud said his intention was that the board “act as one to complete this iconic project that will play a significant role in the further transformation of Barbados’ tourism sector towards the super luxury end”.He stated that when ANSA had completed that syndication, creditors, including former employees would be paid and construction work would restart.The Four Seasons project, which was previously being undertaken by Cinnamon 88, headed by Mike Pemberton, came to a sudden halt on February 20, 2009 after running into financial difficulties.