Sinful sale

BLP slams proposed Hard Rock Hotel takeover of Blue Horizon

The rock and roll spirit that is set to overcome one of the island’s “Gems” is not going down well with one Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate.

Economist Marsha Caddle is seething at the news that Government has sold the three-star Rockley, Christ Church property to businessmen Philip Tempro and Bjorn Bjerkhamn, through their company Blue Development Inc, for $5 million, well below the estimated $17 million it is believed to be worth.

While Caddle believes that a cloud of opaqueness surrounds the deal, it is the reported plan to remodel the 70-room, three-star property into a hospitality venue under the American Hard Rock Hotel brand that most upsets the BLP candidate for St Michael South Central.

“I find it unthinkable that we would have to take a state asset, a hotel, and turn it into a Hard Rock Hotel that is meant to showcase the icons of somebody else’s culture; that no matter what is the nature of the partnership – public/private – that runs the hotel, that would see the repatriation of earnings to wherever the ownership is,” she told a BLP branch meeting in the constituency which she hopes to snatch from Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy in the general election, due next year.

The Hard Rock Hotels brand, which promotes the all-inclusive properties as “Living the Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle”, states that its hotels are rooted in the rock ‘n’ roll spirit.

The company says every Hard Rock Hotel “takes the spirit of its destination and blends it with our vibrant collection of music and memorabilia.

“At Hard Rock Hotels, anything can happen. What you get out of the experience is up to you,” it says.

This, Caddle suggested, ought not be what Blue Horizon should become, insisting that “a Cricket Legends of Barbados hotel” would be more appropriate.

“We have icons too, and the divorce between tourism and culture and the things that make us Barbadian has to come to an end. You going to talk to me about Hard Rock Cafe as an international brand, and say this is what people want? Why are we so ashamed to create for people the Barbados that we experience? This is an economic product and we say we want our young people to show innovation,” she contended, going on to argue that a hotel showcasing Barbados’ cricket legends could attract tourists from markets such as India, South Africa, and Pakistan, which understand cricket as a product, “and would be [happy] to be a part of that experience.

“That is a world class international brand,” she contended.

The sale and rebranding has been criticized by hotelier Adrian Loveridge, who indicated in an article appearing online that “while wholeheartedly appreciating the desire to have big brands appealing to all demographic markets” the fact that virtually all the properties in the Hard Rock Hotel group are all-inclusive, raises questions as to whether “yet more concessions [will] be granted to enable refrigerated containers to be imported duty and tax free.

“As their website proudly boasts the most competitive room rates are obtained by booking directly giving added opportunity for the potential to keep payment and revenue offshore. And lots of mentions of casino’s in other destinations. Will this be another ‘compromise’ to attract investment?”

Loveridge also questioned whether Government had received other bids for Blue Horizon, which had been on the market for over a year.

“Maybe Government weighed the overall potential benefit and decided on a lower offer, but are they truly qualified to make that judgment, or was this simply yet another opportunistic land grab by property speculators at dramatically below market value?” the hotelier asked.

In her address at the BLP meeting, Caddle, who last worked for the Caribbean Development Bank before taking up politics, also questioned the appropriateness of the arrangement from an economic standpoint, saying the Freundel Stuart administration had no clear vision for its scheme to shed state assets.

She also suggested that it was ironic that a Government that was desperate to earn foreign exchange would invite a foreign brand to take over a local property “and then possibly repatriate 100 per cent, or some percentage of the earnings.

“If you have a vision, a plan, you don’t just start shedding assets in a fit of desperation. This is not a strategy,” she told those gathered at the St Michael School for the BLP meeting.

30 Responses to Sinful sale

  1. John Everatt August 30, 2017 at 12:51 am

    The shame is that it was sold for 5 million instead of what it is valued at. There does not seem to be any transparency with this government. People would like to know why this happened however we are not likely to ever learn the truth.

    Reply
  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba August 30, 2017 at 4:05 am

    FROM 2008 GOVERNMENT HANDS, WE NEVER ABOVE BOARD, ALWAYS UNDER THE COUNTER, PLAYING WITH SOMETHING

    Reply
  3. Bradg August 30, 2017 at 4:12 am

    There is no one that can convince me some official didn’t get their “palms greased” from that deal.

    Reply
  4. Wayne Dread
    Wayne Dread August 30, 2017 at 5:58 am

    What are the options, ?a same sex resort?

    Reply
    • hcalndre August 30, 2017 at 7:31 am

      @Wayne Dread; is that a new thing to barbados?

      Reply
  5. Sheron Inniss August 30, 2017 at 6:11 am

    The swamp getting larger and larger.

    Reply
  6. Patrick August 30, 2017 at 6:21 am

    When tax payers money was used to renovate and run those hotels no body did not hear from all of you.
    Those same hotels were returned to the owner by Gems, those hotels were owned by BLP financiers and were unprofitable and in dire need of repairs.
    To you poor yard fowls; stop worrying about who got and get something for yourself.

    Look.at the money spend on Greenland and Edutech, Miss Caddle must have been in school at that time.

    Reply
    • hcalndre August 30, 2017 at 7:25 am

      @backintime Patrick, put your yard fowlism behind and start going foward.

      Reply
  7. Tony Webster August 30, 2017 at 6:39 am

    If Ossie moore asked me for investment advice, I’d tell him go check out all those For Sale signs popping up all over this blessed rock. Real Estate doan rust; the LAST place you should place your hard-earned cash, would be in a bank- where it’s real worth would be “adjusted” should Infamous Menacing Forces land here- at the stroke of a pen. Even taking out a mortgage ( if you are sure you can afford this) is a great idea- as you would be repaying this , at its original nominal value, with “new dollars”, as COL and salaries moved “upwards!! it all depends on your view of the horizon: are you “planning” for this week; next pay-day….or 10-20 years hence?

    Bargains abound; try to judge if the market (it’s diverse, and so has some many niches) we are at….or near…the “bottom of the market”; and be careful to chose quality site and quality value. One we get rid of some old rusty, musty, things clogging up our economic arteries, you cud see some blue skies ahead. Howcum I know this? Well, history is instructive: why did Manufacturers Life, holding zillions of BB$ on bank accounts…swiftly go and ” convert” these funds by building two huge office blocks at Chelston/Culloden Road, when things were also “unsettled”, in the early 1990’s? Hmmm??

    Reply
  8. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner August 30, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Why it was sold for such peanuts no one except people who got such a sweet deal and government officials will ever know but wondering if some palms did not get grease along the way.About opposition ranting and ravening it’s nothing but politricks because both of these two political parties have only ever govern Barbados and shady slimy deals keep happening at expense of taxpayers.

    Reply
    • Wayne Dread
      Wayne Dread August 30, 2017 at 6:57 am

      The property was becoming a haven for rats and other vermin, would you rather it continue to be abandoned and reduce the value of surrounding properties, or become a haven for drug use?

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner August 30, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Wayne Dread No would not but get what it’s worth not chump change and this is not the first time something has been seriously undersold by government makes one wonder.By the way there were higher bids so why take the lowest one just curious as to why,simple if everything above board and nothing to hide put details of deal in public domain.

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner August 30, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Deborah Bennett Are you trying to be funny because not getting ya joke,so come again.

      Reply
    • Wayne Dread
      Wayne Dread August 30, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Rawle Spooner I used to think that bids were sealed. Times have changed,

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner August 30, 2017 at 7:26 am

      Wayne Dread Listen understand if it was sitting empty it had to be sold but go for highest buyer that’s my only problem not the lowest,not here to play politics because I’m not a fan of any political party.

      Reply
    • Wayne Dread
      Wayne Dread August 30, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Maybe @ Deborah, it’s hotter than the platinum coast, they bought all they needed on the west coast so they are moving south for winter or before elections, whichever you choose

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner August 30, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Wayne Dread Lol.

      Reply
    • Wayne Dread
      Wayne Dread August 30, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Truth is HRC targets rockers of all ages but the young and middle ages doesn’t just focus on rock music .we can’t challenge the nature of change. All inclusive is an integral portion of the vacation market, we must find a way to get them spend some of that money in Barbados, and if it’s a foreign entity, then they must use Forex for purchases. Call for reclamation of lands previously used for defunct sugar cane and redistribute it to local farmers to produce crops that is now being included in the containers.

      Reply
  9. Lee August 30, 2017 at 6:59 am

    There are truly some amazing people in the community. The price is a manifestation of the hole that Barbados is in. The island is becoming littered with failed tourism projects and we are on the brink of collapse with an overpriced industry . . . even at this level and climate the investment is ill advised !! Kudos for your confidence and best wishes Blue Development.

    Reply
  10. hcalndre August 30, 2017 at 7:28 am

    @backintime Patrick, put your yard fowlism behind and start going foward.

    Reply
  11. Maaz A Love
    Maaz A Love August 30, 2017 at 8:27 am

    When will the people again have a politician/s that really care about the middle class and the poor people of Barbados. Stop these outsiders/millionaires from takin advantage of Bajans

    Reply
  12. Wayne Dread
    Wayne Dread August 30, 2017 at 8:31 am

    That’s an illusion millionaires take care of themselves so do politicians, maybe we should take a page out of their book and start taking care of ourselves

    Reply
  13. vad50 August 30, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I certainly do not believe that any property should be sold for less than its worth; and that any government asset that under consideration for sale should take place without the citizens being aware of the sale before the papers are signed. The assets belong to the country, not the Government; and there should always be transparency no matter who is running the country. However, I find it hypocritical that the Member from St. Michael’s Central is making such a stink. Where was she when the BLP sold off the National Bank of Barbados to Trinidad? As a matter of fact, where were the people of Barbados voices at that time? Compare a bank to a hotel. It is the pot calling the kettle black scenario.
    It is my hope that any new development in the country has a social justice mandate; which helps with the development of the country and Barbadians. Not just take the resources from the country. I trust that the owners of Blue Development would recognize that Barbados has educated and qualified men and women of African Descent who has the ability to manage their establishment at all levels.

    Reply
  14. Patrick Cozier
    Patrick Cozier August 30, 2017 at 10:00 am

    ….and the sheeple will be led with blinkers on to their inevitable fate but in the meantime, the Kool Aid drinking sweet…. Condition critical.

    Reply
  15. Sanky August 30, 2017 at 10:35 am

    @waynedread
    What you talking about. That hotel was refurbished two years ago. What “rats and vermin”. The two legged variety.
    Stupse…..always talking wee wee.

    Reply
  16. Milli Watt August 30, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    from 17 million down to 5 million is an issue but she must know the genesis of these south coast hotels under the GEMS brand and who were the beneficiaries https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2008/06/17/the-gems-hotel-scandal-continues-under-new-barbados-government/.
    If you going talk TALK ALL IF YOU ARE TO BE CONSIDERED BALANCED.

    Reply
  17. Milli Watt August 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    that said both political parties have used this for individual self interest and we pay the price. until what happen in TnT with ramlogan these clowns will continue doing as dey like

    Reply
  18. Roger Headley August 30, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Offers were made for more the $5M but were rejected, why?

    Reply
  19. Roger Headley August 30, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Who get the difference?

    Reply
  20. Carson C Cadogan August 30, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Adrian Loveridge could really hush.

    No one takes him seriously.

    Reply

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