UPDATED: October 11, 2011
Would you please comment on Finance Minister Sinckler’s insistence that NIS invest millions of our dollars in the Four Seasons project. Is this another CLICO in the making?” (from BFP reader “E”)
Hi “E” We sure will comment on this!
Our Minister of Finance came out yesterday with some very disturbing statements about the Four Seasons
project disaster. Minister Sinckler told the press that the “government gives its word” that the project will be completed.
Put down your Coke before reading this or it will go up your nose…
Sinckler was in “full bullshit mode” (pardon our French) and says…
“Now if the Inter-American Development Bank [IDB] and others with their extensive expertise and expansive due diligence and investment analysis have looked at this project inside out, and have determined that it is a viable project that can bring massive returns to investor and country, why on earth would Barbados want to turn its back on this project?”
Finance Minister Chris Sinckler as quoted in The Nation: Government’s word
For Mr. Sinckler: Lesson 101 – Private sector investment vs. “investing” our tax money…
The private sector walked from the Four Seasons “investment” because it is not viable. Now Sinckler and the DLP Government want to “invest” OUR PENSION MONEY in a project that the private sector has abandoned.
NO. Not one more dollar of public money, Mr. Sinckler.
This is an election issue. It might be THE election issue.
Not one more dollar. Mr. Sinckler and Prime Minister Stuart are badly misreading the public on this. We have nothing left to give and I’ll be damned if I will let you place my grandchildren in debt over this.
Name all the investors that our tax money will rescue! How many politicians or close family members are already invested in Four Seasons, Mr. Sinckler? Who are we bailing out?
Not one more dollar of public money. Not one dollar of our pension money.
The line is drawn.
Original story published September 28, 2011…
It’s called the “American Standard” investment!
Mega-project wants a public money bailout with no sure way to assess the future value or success.
“Do any current or previous members of government or their family members have a stake in this project? I want full disclosure before one more dollar of public money is placed at risk.”
Dear Barbados Free Press
The executive chairman of Paradise Beach Limited, Professor Avinash Persaud, wants $80 million of Barbadians’ pension funds to get the “stalled” Four Seasons project going again.
He says the company could go to outsiders for the funds, but as a special favour to Barbados, he’s letting us in on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to…
… To pour more public funds into a major project that can’t find private funding in a recession where tourism is tanking? To shore up underground caves that should have been found before the project started? (See Barbados Today Project push for Four Seasons Resort)
That’s quite an opportunity.
The Barbados government on our behalf has already guaranteed a $120 million bank loan on the project and that really made a difference (guffaw, cough, cough). Now they want more or else I suppose we’ll lose our $120 million dollars.
It sounds like that old story where if you owe the bank some money, the bank owns you – but if you owe big money you own the bank.
Only in this case, Paradise Beach Limited owns our pension funds and future. The government is already so far in that big money is already at risk.
How much of the project does Barbados own now? How much more money to completion? Can the project ever be profitable considering the costs?
What percentage of units have to sell at what price and during what time period to meet the interest payments? What occupancy rate at what room price for how many years for the hotel to function, perform reasonable maintenance and pay off the loans?
I doubt our government ‘experts’ know the answer to those questions any more than I do.
My opinion: Not another public dollar for the Four Seasons project.
Not one. Instead, take that $80 million NIS money (assuming it really exists as cash and in this I have my doubts) and buy Apple stock. It’s probably a much wiser, more profitable and lower risk decision.
If Avinash Persaud wants my pension money, tell him to put everything he and his family have into the project, all the family assets, and put himself at the end of the line for a payout. Once he is personally invested in the manner that he wants the Barbados public to invest – then I’ll listen to him.
The same goes for the other big ups who have a piece of the Four Seasons pie: get fully invested in the project and promise not to take a dollar out until the public is paid back. Then we’ll talk.
One final thought: Do any current or previous members of government or their family members have a stake in this project? I want full disclosure before one more dollar of public money is placed at risk.
(Name given to BFP but withheld on request)
Friends, you should head on over to Barbados Today to read the following article, but as usual we have to reprint the whole thing because the Bajan news media makes it a habit to remove or change stories to suit whatever agenda is fashionable.
Barbados Today – Season to invest
by Wade Gibbons
The board of the National Insurance Scheme is expected to make a decision soon on whether it will allow Four Seasons’ developers to access $80 million from its Pension Fund to get the stalled project moving again.
Barbados TODAY investigations have revealed that a proposal to invest in the project was made to the NIS board by executive chairman of Paradise Beach Limited, Professor Avinash Persaud. The two parties reportedly met again earlier today.
Sources said the comprehensive package presented to the board had met with favourable verbal response. Government has been very supportive of the project from the outset. Efforts to get a comment from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler were unsuccessful. It is understood that he is overseas.
When contacted, Persaud confirmed the approach to the NIS and said that having made substantial advance in negotiations on a $180 million credit facility, developers were now concentrating on raising equity.
He said he believed that the region’s assets were not sufficiently owned by “ordinary citizens”. He added that as part of the process of “democratising and regionalising” the ownership of Four Seasons, an approach for investment had also been made to other national insurance schemes across the region.
“Four Seasons is the Gucci of hotel brands. It is the very top brand and ordinary citizens of this reason have never had the opportunity before, and probably never in the future, to own a piece of that brand.
“As a result of that I am going the extra mile to regionalise and localise the ownership of the assets. It would be easier for us simply to raise the money overseas and we have already spoken to many overseas investors,” he said.
Persaud revealed that Four Seasons Hotels Limited, which was a manager and an operator, was also “seriously considering” an investment in the Black Rock, St Michael development. He did not go into details of the presentation made to the NIS, noting it would be inappropriate since negotiations were at a delicate stage.
A source close to the negotiations said today Paradise Beach Limited had received a very strong response from regional investors but were in somewhat of a Catch-22 position.
“If we raise all the money from outside Barbados they will be people who will complain that we did not give the opportunity to Barbadians. If we raise all the money inside Barbados the same people will complain that we couldn’t get overseas investors. You can’t win,” he noted.
The source said he expected the approach to the NIS to be politicised for “narrow, self-serving” reasons but that the Four Seasons project had all positives for Barbados and not a “single negative”.
“This project will give such a major financial injection to the local economy that it can only benefit Barbadians, and I guess, any Government that is in power. So one can expect, for political reasons, some people trying to throw cold water on this approach to Government,” he said.
Government has previously guaranteed a $120 million ANSA McAL Bank Merchant loan for Four Seasons.