Harlequin shuts down Merricks, Allamanda projects

How many abandoned developments can Barbados take?

by Stolen Sea Eggs

2009: “The Merricks Beach Resort will become one of Barbados’s most luxurious, family-orientated 5 star resorts and will offer state-of-the-art accommodation and amenities including a world class spa. There is currently a shortage of this level of accommodation on the island.”

… from Harlequin Property: The Merricks, Barbados

2011: “Government had offered Harlequin concessions but to date they had not received them, so the development company had to shut the projects down until the concessions became available.”

… from the Nation article 13 workers lose jobs

Where is the bottom?

Word came yesterday that Harlequin Properties shut down construction at the Merricks Resort Development and the Allamanda Beach Hotel – “due to Government’s failure to provide concessions” according to an article in The Nation.

Harlequin says that the Barbados Government promised the company certain unnamed concessions at the start of the projects, but to date the government hasn’t delivered on its promises. That could be. Could it also have something to do with the alleged fraud at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay Resort? Who knows!

These are bad times and they are not getting better tomorrow. Whatever the promised concessions, if they involve revenue output from the Barbados Treasury the vault is empty and no amount of promising or wishing will make it not so. Did we promise roads, power, water and other infrastructure to the project? The money probably isn’t there. It really hasn’t been for decades unless we planned to borrow it and that free ride on our grandchildren is ending according to the IMF and any reality check.

We can’t pay our pensioners and government employees on time, chemists are waiting up to a year to be paid for government prescription plans and at least four buses I know of are sitting idle because the budget isn’t there to cover major engine and transmission work.

Other big projects are in trouble too as the private sector goes into hibernation during the financial chaos. The Four Seasons is nothing but a concrete wasteland, and in another year or so many of the half-done footings will be seriously damaged. There’s nothing more insidiously destructive to unfinished structures than salt-laced water running down exposed rebar and into the concrete for a couple of years. I’m sure that my friend and rebar engineer Grenville Phillips II would agree. 🙂

Barbados: Failed promises to investors and philanthropists

The other side of the story is that over the years Barbados has made it a habit to promise much to foreign investors to entice them to the island, but then fails to pay up. Off the top of my head I can think of a two prime examples, but there are many more…

Philanthropist Anthony Martin’s stray dog programme

click photo for large

British all-round good guy Anthony Martin loved dogs and he loved Barbados. He provided 1.8 million dollars to implement a nation-wide neutering programme to control stray dogs. He also funded an animal rescue centre. The agreement with the Barbados Government was that Barbados would pass laws to control stray dogs and so do its part.

Health Minister Donville Inniss was a no-show, the government failed to keep its commitment to Mr. Martin and that was the end of that. Barbados lost several million dollars in funding for a programme that improved the island. Once again it was proven that we’ll say anything to attract new investors and philanthropists – but we’d rather find a new sucker every year than keep our promises and retain our existing clientele.

"Protected" area in red now approved for development by friends of DLP Government

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

What’s to say? The government promised Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard that if he and several hundred Barbados citizens resurrected the Graeme Hall mangrove forest and established the world-class Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, Barbados would conserve and protect the surrounding Graeme Hall wetlands and watershed. That worked out for a time, with Barbados declaring some of the wetlands as RAMSAR protected, but then GREED got the best of the BLP and DLP politicians.

American foreign investor Mathew Kerins stupidly gave US$2 million dollars in “consulting fees” (cough, cough) and received a promise from then PM Owen Arthur that he could build a water park on the protected Graeme Hall watershed. Citizens went crazy over this and Owen was forced to cancel the deal. Owen Arthur lost the election and American foreign investor Kerins lost his US$2 million dollar bribe, er, consulting fee.

Then the David Thompson DLP Government came into power and immediately Thompson decided that his old friend and CLICO boss Leroy Parris was okay to build on the protected Graeme Hall watershed. One of the first acts of the Thompson government was to remove the promised environmental protections on Graeme Hall and change the law to make it legal to fill and develop the wetlands.

The DLP canned the promised Graeme Hall National Park, approved development on protected areas and broke every promise and agreement made with the foreign philanthropist Allard. As a result, Allard was forced to close an outstanding tourist venue and laid off 100 workers.

The truth about Harlequin

What is the truth about the unfulfilled commitments the government made to Harlequin? The chances are that we citizens will never know. We never know anything except for this:

Whether Merricks is resurrected or sits as an abandoned blight on our coast, we’ll be paying for it for decades, while our political class quits the island and moves to Canada, the USA and Switzerland where their “consulting” companies and secret bank accounts are located.


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Economy, Offshore Investments

15 responses to “Harlequin shuts down Merricks, Allamanda projects

  1. Alice in Dreadland

    The reality of those closing lines ring hard & true. The B#*^%ds who dropped us in theis crap will always have a bolt hole to disappear into….If we the people do nothing then we must accept what they dishing out to us.

  2. Donkey

    Occupy Bridgetown?

  3. Bing

    Remember Allan Stanford.

  4. St George's Dragon

    Don’t shed too many tears for Harlequin. Google them starting with Buccament Bay.

  5. St George's Dragon

    …..and a useful summary here:

  6. a johnny come lately Clico

    These amateurs had their timing all wrong!

    Several years before, when the shine was still on the “bling”, they could have hosed all the investors big time with huge unearned fees, and outright theft through illegal transactions just like our man at CBC, Duprey and others.

  7. Green Monkey

    Who Killed Economic Growth?

    Richard Heinberg propose a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits.

    ** Please understand that we fit all we could into a five minute video. Yes, there are many issues and nuances left out. You’ll find most addressed in the book from which this material was excerpted: http://www.endofgrowth.com***

  8. rasta man

    Seems like REDJET and Harleguin have the same problem with promises by this Govt.Maybe someone is not getting their pocket lined??

  9. Green Monkey

    The End of Economic Growth
    written by: barath

    We’re at the end of growth. Growth of the economy, of consumption, of wealth. That this would happen isn’t news to those who’ve followed the writings of Meadows, Heinberg, and many others. What’s different now is that it may have actually arrived. I’d like to briefly look at our current situation in this context and synthesize the various ideas we explored in previous posts.

    On Friday we learned that after only two years of expansion (mid 2009 – mid 2011), the U.S. economy is re-entering recession:

    Early last week, ECRI notified clients that the U.S. economy is indeed tipping into a new recession. And there’s nothing that policy makers can do to head it off.

    ECRI’s recession call isn’t based on just one or two leading indexes, but on dozens of specialized leading indexes, including the U.S. Long Leading Index, which was the first to turn down – before the Arab Spring and Japanese earthquake – to be followed by downturns in the Weekly Leading Index and other shorter-leading indexes. In fact, the most reliable forward-looking indicators are now collectively behaving as they did on the cusp of full-blown recessions, not “soft landings.”

    Why is this happening so soon? What’s the bigger context here?

    We’re not just entering a new recession – we’re at the end of growth as we’ve known it. We have passed or are near many of the peaks in natural resources, both by drawing down non-renewable resources and by hyperexploiting renewable ones.


    There’s a simple cycle that we can now step back and observe clearly, and we’re going to be stuck in it for at least the rest of this decade if not the next one as well:

    A recession occurs (2007-2008)
    Demand falls due to the recession (2008-2009)
    Oil/gasoline prices fall (2008-2009)
    A recovery begins (2009)
    The recovery self-sustains for a short period of time (2009-2010)
    Oil prices rise due to increased demand (2010-2011)
    The recovery falters due to increased oil costs (2010-2011)
    A new recession begins (2011)

    When oil prices hit $90/barrel last December, those watching oil prices were worried this would cause a new recession. By May I expected we’d see a recession within 12 months due to the persistent high oil prices we’d seen from December through May, as did many others.


    The bottom line is that we’ve likely hit the end of economic growth in quantitative terms.

    One would expect that this pattern would be of concern to policymakers. However, there is consensus among the mainstream left and the right, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives that growth is good and should be our objective. What all of the above is indicating is that growth isn’t possible any more, regardless of whether it’s “smart growth” or not. We’ve reached the long-forecasted Limits to Growth.

    What can be done?

    To be honest, I don’t expect that much can be done top-down or bottom-up. The institutions we have, and the forms of activism we have, don’t work well to address problems like this. The best approach may be individuals and communities first coming to grips with this situation, and then taking action to become more resilient. It’s unlikely that there exists a rescue remedy that will solve the problems above.


  10. Prince of Barbados

    YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! Uh hope um get shut down fuheva! We ain want nor need nuhmo’ development in Barbados! Lef de island lone!


  11. J. Payne

    Barbados is becoming like Jamaica following the West Indies Federation. The parallels are striking. In those days the economy of Jamaica was sailing high. There was great boasting and proudness by persons in that nation for all they had in comparison to the other islands.
    Corruption was allowed to grow there any it took off to high level squandering the wealth of the Jamaican people over time. That proudness eventually turned into rebuke and condemnation by persons from every other island towards Jamaica. So now Barbados faces the same prospect.
    Other islands speak of an arrogance amongst Barbadians towards them and their countries. Barbados is now sinking rapidly and it wont be long until you start hearing the same jeers that Jamaicans got for pulling out of the West Indies Federation because they didn’t want to have “Nine little suckling pigs attached to them” instead directed towards Barbados.

  12. Nostradamus

    See the Barbados Advocate Friday Nov. 04, 2011. Front page story and continued on page 12. Water Resource Minister Estwick comments that the waterworks system cannot cope with the developments and upgrades planned for St. Philip.

    Quoting the Minister “…..the Harlequin Merricks project that is now held up with respect to problems with water”.

    I am reliably informed by someone who attended the TCPD Town Hall Meeting held with respect to the planning application for this project that a representative of BWA stated clearly that they could not supply the water requirements for this project with their current infrastructure. In addition people living in the area complained of frequent water outages.

    With that in mind and the comments of the minister:

    1) Why would Town Planning give permission for a development that could not be adequately serviced by the existing water supply?
    2) Why would Harelquin start the project knowing that the water infrastructure was not in place?

  13. Green Monkey

    With that in mind and the comments of the minister:

    1) Why would Town Planning give permission for a development that could not be adequately serviced by the existing water supply?
    2) Why would Harelquin start the project knowing that the water infrastructure was not in place?

    I recollect seeing something on the CBC news maybe a week or two ago about plans that are in the works to build a new reservoir on the ridge at Mt. Pleasant to serve the St. Philip area, and as I remember it, it was stated that this reservoir (along with some infrastructure upgrades) was to accommodate the planned growth for St. Philip including meeting the water requirements for all the currently planned new tourist related developments. According to the CBC report, the new reservoir is to be located on the Mt. Pleasant ridge, approx 800ft above sea level, so that the location’s height can provide the necessary pressure to meet the projected demand from the bulk of the downstream users located closer to sea level. Can’t remember some of the other details that might have been touched on such as a planned date for completion, sources for the additional water etc.

  14. Nostradamus

    Yes Green Monkey the article in the Advocate supports what you say.
    One wonders if the planning permission for Merricks was contingent on the resevoir etc being ready. Have Harlequin jumped the gun?

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