Way clear


MORE?THAN?300 local and international creditors and suppliers connected with the Four Seasons project are set to get about $100 million over the course of two years.
Executive chairman of Paradise Beach Limited, Dr Avinash Persaud, yesterday said the payments to creditors would be made in part from a $120 million credit facility disbursed by ANSA Merchant Bank.
 It was finalised yesterday during a signing ceremony at Paradise’s Black Rock, St Michael office and will go a long way towards meeting a backlog of payments to an extensive list of creditors ranging from artisans to big companies such as Rayside Construction and C.O. Williams.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said this was the precise “domestic” fillip that the stalled construction project needed to get it going again by the star of the New Year.
“It clears the way for the project to restart,” Sinckler told the DAILY?NATION last night, while contending that “no villa owner is going to invest $10 million with $100 million in liabilities hanging over Four Seasons’ head.”
He highlighted the latest guarantee as a “homegrown solution to an internationally driven problem”, noting that Four Seasons was one of the casualties of the global downturn.
“The Government of Barbados is happy to see those creditors being paid, particularly the small investors, and we believe it is a positive step that clears the way for other work to be done for restart of the project in the New Year.”
The credit facility, which was guaranteed by the Barbados Government, extends up to 18 months and incurs a 6.75 per cent interest rate.
Executive director of ANSA Merchant Bank, Gregory Hill, said this interest rate was reflective of the complexity of the project.
 Persaud said construction work on the hotel and residences was expected to begin early next year and the project would employ 800 workers on average and 1 000 at its peak.
He said Paradise was now in a financial position to resume construction.
“I know that everyone in Barbados would like that to mean that tomorrow workers will be coming through the gates, but thoseof you who have been involved in developments and construction would know that would be the surest way to make the project fail again,” Persaud said.
He noted that the company had to look at its master plan and “do a fair amount of preparation”.
They also have to ensure the tendering process was fair to all Barbadian suppliers, he said.
“I think that with an aggressive timetable we can complete all that preparation in around six weeks’ time which would put us probably on Christmas Day.
“I don’t think that will be the day to start, so we’ll be starting, I reckon, in all reasonableness early next year,” he stated.
Persaud said the hotel was expected to be completed in three years.
“We will try our hardest to complete that earlier but one of the things we’ve learnt [is] if you are selling what is anticipated to be one of the top three hotels in the world you can’t be over hasty in the quality and design,” he added.
Persaud said total construction from this point on would cost in the region of US$275 million, split between completing villas, constructing the hotel and new villas.
The hotel alone will cost between US$80 to US$100 million. (NB)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here