Friday, April 12, 2024

$15m payout joy


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PROBABLY THE?BIGGEST?paydays in Barbados’ history were recorded on Tuesday and yesterday when more than 300 creditors and former employees collected $15 million owed them since construction of the Four Seasons resort project ground to a halt in February 2009.
Executive chairman of Paradise Beach Ltd., Avinash Persaud, who witnessed the proceedings, said the process went smoothly and there were no complaints from those collecting.
He explained that the disbursement of cheques was organised to take place over a 48-hour period with employees and small contractors being the first to be paid. Most of the payout, he said, went to local creditors.
“We have to pay over 300 persons in a 48-hour period,” Persaud pointed out adding that the $15 million represented the biggest single payday in the island’s history.
He said no descrepancies were reported by anyone and praised Consolidated Finance for the administration work.
“We were concerned that after people waited so long that something may have been wrong – when they opened their envelopes, that there would have been some technical or logistical mistakes – but Consolidated Finance spent many hours triple checking and so far everything has been fine and orderly.”
And as to the many dates given over the past two years for the payment of monies and the restart of the project, Persaud said that was because the process was very complicated.
He explained that Government’s advisory process took seven months. “We had anticipated that it would have taken about two months but we don’t begrudge Government
for taking their time in getting it right. Our time table was put out by five or six months but this was an important process”, he said, while pointing out that other issues involved included the transfer of plots to villa owners.
In relation to the villa owners, such as British mogul Simon Cowell who would have invested millions in the project Persaud explained that Four Seasons had been in constant communication with them.
“We have been speaking to them a lot and I can tell you that they are very happy today. We spoke to Simon Cowell’s team on Friday and they are very eager to restart as soon as possible.”
Persaud said Paradise Ltd. would concentrate on having the project restarted after the payment process.
From as early as 9 a.m a steady stream of people filed into the Four Season offices and one of the satisfied creditors was Collis Williams of R.D.L Company who said they had learnt a lot from this process with Four Seasons.
 He told the DAILY?NATION: “I am overjoyed. It has been a long time. We were confident that this day would have come but it was extremely tough over the past two years.”
He explained that his company was involved in logistics and shipping.
“We took a beating but we learnt some valuable lessons. It was a very learning experience,” he stated, adding that his company was still involved with the project and had no problems working with Four Seasons again.
With cheque in hand, Richard Collins of Coral Facades Caribbean shouted “Hallelujah”, when asked how he felt to finally receive his money.
“We are very satisfied.
I?supposed we thought it would never happen given the length of time but we are satisfied. We have to pay out some of this cash,” he stated.
Lolly Blackett, a town planning consultant, said the long delay did not have a major impact on her business and she had all faith that the money would have been paid.
“I always thought I would have been paid especially since Government was involved,” she said.
One of the extremely happy creditors and investors who collected yesterday was prominent businessman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams.
As he showed off several cheques which he collected, Williams praised the Four Seasons project and said it was worth the wait.
“My brother and I were the first people to put a million dollars in this project as investors. This is one of the biggest projects in Barbados and Barbados really needs the foreign exchange. Without foreign exchange we are dead. This is a first-class project for Barbados. We hope this time around to be doing a lot more work in it and as you can see today I?have collected a number of cheques.
I?am absolutely happy,” he gushed.

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