Whither the Four Seasons Project?
With each passing day it appears construction at this massive development at Black Rock St. Michael has as much chance of restarting soon as Barbados having a snow storm.
Unfortunately for those in charge of resuscitating the controversial tourism venture over the past two years, most recent events mean they will now find it even more difficult to convince the doubters their efforts are paying off or will bear fruit.
The latest uncertainty came yesterday with comments from the Inter American Development Bank’s President Luis Alberto Moreno, who was speaking at a news conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The finance official told the media that not one cent of a $110 million IDB loan approved for the project since May 23 had been disbursed because certain conditions had not been met.
And while at the same time Moreno recommitted his organisation to supporting what he considered a worthwhile enterprise, this latest development is bound to be more of a negative than advantage to the work of Executive Chairman of Paradise Beach Limited, Professor Avinash Persaud and his team.
Ever since he was in charge of reviving Four Seasons Barbados following its hiatus in February 2009, the internationally respected economist and financial analyst has faced an uphill battle trying to convince the public that it is worth salvaging.
If Government’s guarantee of a $60 million loan from Trinidad and Tobago’s ANSA Merchant Bank Limited was not enough to concern Barbadians, then came the controversial application and subsequent approval of a National Insurance Board loan for it.
The difficult task Persaud and company have faced in their efforts to restart construction at Four Seasons is such that not even the support of an institution as respected as the IDB quelled public worry, and yesterday’s comments by it’s head has not helped the situation.
We have no doubt the project which started around 2006 will in fact be restarted and be completed, it is just a matter of how, when and by whom.
A positive the current developers can hold on to is the fact that at least two groups have expressed an interest in buying the project.
One thing is certain, however, and that is that Four Seasons Barbados will definitely not be bustling with activity anytime in 2012.
Let us just hope we will not be saying the same thing in October 2013.