UPP Leader Blasts Gaston Browne for Repeated Premature Announcements About the Sale of Jolly Beach Resort

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UPP Leader Blasts Gaston Browne for Repeated Premature Announcements About the Sale of Jolly Beach Resort

After several consecutive failed acquisitions of the Jolly Beach Resort, The PL or UPP HL cautions Gaston Browne that premature public statements  are extinguishing the hopes of workers.

The Government has announced that it found a buyer for Jolly Beach on at least five different occasions.

The last three included the Nikki Beach Group out of Europe, Mr. Rob Barrett of Elite Island Resorts and most recently an unnamed new investor.

The Government needs to be more sensitive and mindful that people are waiting on their severance to pay off bills, start businesses and get their lives back on track.

These workers owe people and have families depending on them.

Sufficient planning should precede any public announcements that involve people’s livelihoods.

“What the Jolly Beach, LIAT, and CAS workers need is relief,” says UPP Political Leader Harold Lovell. “As the government seeks investors to rectify these situations, efforts must be made to offer relief in the short term.

This relief could include compassionate payments, advance payments on severance, speedy access to business funding and training opportunities, the extension of loan guarantees, the negotiation of loan moratoria and a moratorium on APUA disconnection.”

The UPP continues to express it’s grave concern over the delays in providing short term relief to address the mental anguish that workers endure, as the ABLP continues to make reckless political pronouncements.

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While Cabinet has reaffirmed plans for the dilapidated Jolly Beach Resort to reopen its doors by this November, the body’s spokesperson has revealed that Elite Island Resorts will not be taking it on as had been previously announced.

Speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas said that “the principal owners of the Elite Island Resorts have declined any further participation”.

Hopes had been high that the chain which operates a string of successful resorts across Antigua would be the panacea to bring the once-thriving beachfront complex back into operation.

Nicholas said while the Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez was not present in Cabinet on Wednesday, he had asked Cabinet to consider a memorandum of agreement between the government and “another vacations entity” who wished to be involved in the project, but he was unable to disclose the interest’s name at the time.

“It is a well-known brand and I believe in the next week or so we will be in a position to indicate that we have come to an agreement,” he explained.

“The matter is now before the legal department and once that is completed, I believe the Minister of Tourism will be in a position to indicate what we are going to do with the Jolly Beach Resort.”

In early June, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that under the agreement with Elite, owned by businessman Rob Barrett, US$10 million would be invested into the property as part of a loan to the government.

The money would have gone towards the repair and rebuilding of several of the hotel’s structures, according to Browne, and also aid with compensating the resort’s former workers who are collectively owed more than EC$7 million in severance and outstanding pay.

Efforts to sell the property also hit a snag in recent months after it was revealed that there is a US$15 million charge on it by a creditor.

Minister Nicholas said that matter is still before the court and the government is awaiting a decision.

“Should we be successful in getting that matter lifted, then I think it clears the way for the full operationalisation of a newfangled Jolly Beach and we are certainly interested in getting that done.

“The government itself has put up some funds and funds have already been secured. So, I think it’s just a matter of days before the renovation of Jolly Beach starts to take place,” he explained.

The government is hoping that the resort will open in the winter season in order to capitalise on an increased desire to travel globally as the world recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that drastically limited travel.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Nikki Beach Group? This wasn’t realistic. Jolly Beach doesn’t fit the look of that hotel group at all.

  2. If something isn’t done to improve the run down unkept beach at JH guest who rent the villas at JH South Finger will not return.
    * Abandoned Properties *
    Jolly Beach Resort
    Tranquility Bay
    What use to be Castaways
    The Unkept beach
    *Disgraceful that the government allowed this to happen.
    JBR was one of the few places where locals
    could enjoy a Staycation or day pass.
    As they say, TALK IS CHEAP.
    TIME FOR CHANGE

  3. It’s high time the Government sort out something for the ex employees of Jolly Beach. How long will this continue? Until people passed away and don’t even see a dollar. This Government don’t give a damn about this Country.

  4. After all Too Big To Fail is not a fool with his money.It was said by the Tap Dawg.That the Multi-Hotel Owner was going to Manage the Jolly Beach Hotel until a buyer is found.Who would want to invest of their time,finances and energies into that DUMP,known to all as Jolly Beach Hotel.

  5. Maybe try something different. I don’t know much about the resort, but, based on the ambiance, I feel like that old resort would make a good college or university campus. Maybe some of the workers could stay on to help maintain it. Just a random thought.

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