Sandals operating like ‘a state within a state’ – Toppin

St Michael North Member of Parliament  Ronald Toppin has called on the Freundel Stuart administration to make public its agreement with Sandals Resorts.

Contributing to the debate in the House of Assembly on the Appropriations Bill 2016, Toppin charged that the accord signed between Government and the international hotel chain was “the most tightly guarded agreement”, while complaining that “a whole lot has been given to Sandals and the country has got relatively small in return.

“When a company could be granted a half-billion dollars in concessions, it is only right that Barbadians should be able to see the agreement,” argued Toppin.

“I believe it is by right that we see a copy of the agreement that entered into between the Government of Barbados and Sandals so that we can know what we might be in for,” he added.

The Opposition shadow spokesman on tourism described Sandals as “a state within a state”,

“At the 50th anniversary of our independence, we have Sandals here, the state within a state, a veritable animal farm, where all are equal, but one is more equal than others,” he charged, adding, “Sandals has done nothing in this country to build a tourism industry.”

However, he bitterly complained that the hotel chain had “extraordinary powers” and was “determined to dominate every single little thing”, including jet ski and other water sports activities.

“At the same time not one local tour operator can go on Sandals’ premises to try to solicit business, to carry somebody for a taxi ride or a tour anywhere. Nobody can go inside,” Toppin alleged, adding, “it is an all-inclusive with a big difference.”

Toppin also pointed out that while most all-inclusives came with two or three restaurants, but Sandals has 14, and was bringing it to Barbados “an offshore tourist, who does not mix with the average Barbadian”.

“The Sandals model is totally out of sync with the tourist industry that has operated in Barbados over the years. It might apply in other places where people are afraid to go out, but that is not so in Barbados.”

He said that the power and reach of Sandals was so strong that even business people seemed intimidated and were not saying anything in their defence.

“And the Government’s lips are sealed too,” he added.

However, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy rose to his feet in objection after Toppin charged that Sandals could build groynes in the sea “and the Coastal Zone Management  [CZMU] people do nothing about it, or say nothing about it”.

Sealy said an application was made to the Town & Country Planning Department, which was commented on by the CZMU. (GA)

2 Responses to Sandals operating like ‘a state within a state’ – Toppin

  1. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith March 17, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Once again it was right about Sandals getting more than the taxpayers gets in return. All you people that was talking about jobs in return and boosting the economy. The amount of money that’s talking about could have refurbished the QEH with money to spare. Its a good reason why the politicians doesn’t want transparency and accountability.
    Just weeks ago a politician was saying that they don’t want any anti-corruption laws. Once again the politicians have sold out leaving the taxpayers on the hook for billions. Just remember I was against this deal for Sandals hotels..I might be accessed of negative and against everything but, I have the knowledge to spot corruption and incompetence..

  2. Carson C Cadogan March 17, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Sandals Resorts is one of the best things to happen to Barbados’ tourism product in years.

    This is just nonsense that Toppin is talking. Sandals is a top Hotel brand in the World. We in Barbados are already seeing the great benefits of having such a Hotel brand here. We are fortunate to have Sandals Resorts here in Barbados.

    Only the Barbados Labour Party think that Sandals resorts are no good.


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