Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 08, 2007 (CUOPM)
Proclaiming to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, that the “best is yet to come,” Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas announced that the Christophe Harbour Development will transform the twin-island Federation into one of the best luxury golf and resort destinations on the face of the globe.
Speaking at the presentation, Prime Minister Douglas said that the comprehensive development plan for the Southeast Peninsula unveiled by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, along with other developers – Firesky Ventures, Auberge Resorts and Kiawah Development Partners would place St. Kitts and Nevis to the forefront of the high-end, luxury sector of the Caribbean tourism market and one of the best luxury golf and resort destinations on the face of the globe.
The four hotel project, when completely built out, will sit on six spectacular beaches. Its natural harbour, sheltered by green hills and high bluffs, will provide the ideal setting for mega-yachts as centerpieces of a seaside village of restaurants, shops, boutiques, two five-star hotels managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Auberge Resorts and oceanfront homes. Atop the green cliffs will be a Tom Fazio championship golf course and clubhouse plus a collection of luxurious villas and private homesites.Initially, two luxury hotels are planned for Christophe Harbour, accommodating visitors and yachting enthusiasts who will dock at the Marina or call it home. The first hotel will be a five-star boutique property under the management of Auberge Resorts, respected for its collection of exceptional hotels, resorts, spas and clubs.
The second five-star hotel will be managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, the award-winning owner and operator of some of the world’s most prestigious hotels and resorts. Each property will be intimate, elegant and individually designed to take advantage of the splendid natural surroundings of these singular hotels.
At the event held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino, Prime Minister Douglas, who is also the Minister of Tourism, recalled meeting one of the developers, Mr. J. B. Turbidy some two years ago.
“During this meeting I outlined to him my Government’s vision for St Kitts and Nevis and I enunciated the development parameters that were of critical importance to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, because in all of this of course, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis must matter. At the time, we were facing one of the most difficult and challenging decisions that my Government any where in the world could face, because the international market had moved against us and it had become quite apparent that our tiny island state, could not achieve the economies of scale that were necessary to compete globally with the giant sugar producers around the world,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said that he emphasised in that meeting with Turbidy, that although St. Kitts and Nevis could not compete in the production of sugar any longer, the country possessed a number of attributes that were unrivaled anywhere in the world and which could secure for St. Kitts and Nevis an unchallengeable position in the intensely competitive global market place.
“I spoke specifically about the unparalleled beauty and distinctive ambience of our Federation, the warmth of our proud Kittitian and Nevisian people, the stunning scenic vistas and historical sites that abound in our islands and our very rich cultural heritage that has lured so many of our visitors to make repeat visits to this our beautiful Federation. I felt then that the project had to share these attributes with the rest of the world in an elegant, tasteful and environmentally-sound manner, and at the same time bring meaningful benefits to the proud people ““ the citizens of our beloved Federation,” said Dr. Douglas, who also pointed out that the project had to be consistent with his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government’s expansive people empowerment programmes.
“It had to bring high quality jobs to our people; and I understand that thousands of jobs will emanate from this particular project; it had to open up new entrepreneurship and wealth creation opportunities for our people. This project had to generate foreign exchange and other revenues to assist us in bringing down the public debt that we had incurred to create the environment that is necessary to attract and support a project such as St. Christophe Harbour; and it had to essentially leave intact for generations of Kittitians to come, the natural environment and the fragile eco-systems for the benefit of our children and future generations,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.
Turbidy will recall, he said that he (PM Douglas) had expressed confidence that the social and economic progress made over the years, especially the last 12 years, “would assist us in targeting the high-end luxury sector of the tourism market and thereby avoid much of the environmental and social ills that are often associated with over-development and mass tourism.”
“We prefer the high end tourism. Specifically, our 98% literacy rate, our expanding social, physical and economic infrastructure that includes state-of-the-art telecommunication facilities, and our people empowerment programmes have consistently placed our Federation among the more advanced countries of the world and far ahead of almost all countries in the Caribbean on the United Nations Human Development Index,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said he shared with Turbidy, the vision of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and the expectation that these impressive social and economic achievements would undoubtedly help to ensure that the project achieves its objectives and reaches its target market.
“But I also insisted that this project be designed to have maximum impact on the quality of life of our people and thereby push us to even higher rankings on the Human Development Index,” said Dr. Douglas.
The Prime Minister said he was pleased that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis through the Ministry of Tourism, J.B. Turbidy of FireSky Ventures; Mark Harmon of Auberge Resorts; Charles P. “Buddy” Darby; his partner, Leonard Long of KDP (Kiawah Development Partners); Frank Stocek of Mandarin Oriental; Larry Levy of Levy Restaurants; Tom Fazio – renowned Golf Course Designer; and a number of other investors, operators and developers, have finally combined their forces to put together a most comprehensive Tourism Development Project “Christophe Harbour” that is consistent in every respect with the vision that he had enunciated on behalf of the Cabinet in that first meeting with J.B. Turbidy.
Dr. Douglas said that the project will combine with a number of other private sector projects in St Kitts and Nevis to give momentum to the programme of economic transformation that his Labour Government has been pursuing in the aftermath of the closure of the sugar industry.
“We consistently said to our people there is going to be life after sugar and today we are beginning to see the first stirrings of life ““ the Christophe Harbour being announced to the world here on the southeast peninsula of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said the Prime Minister, who added that it was quite clear that the members of the team of developers are among the best in the world in their respective fields of endeavours.
“In particular, J.B. Turbidy and Mark Harmon who were involved in the project from the very beginning displayed tremendous sensitivity to Government’s development vision and to our own commitment of protecting the environment. Moreover, my government’s extensive negotiations with Leonard Long and Charles P. “Buddy” Darby have given me great assurance that there is no better partner to take the lead in the golf course and resort residential development and marine components of the programme. They have demonstrated that their reputation as world class golf course and resort residential developers is most richly deserved. Moreover, Mandarin Oriental through Frank Stocek has demonstrated by the quality and class of their operations around the world that they have the capacity to make a big difference in our Federation. Similarly we have heard of Larry Levy and now Eustace Guishard and his partners from Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla, and Tom Fazio have achieved international recognition in their respective fields of competence and expertise,” said Dr. Douglas, who thanked all of them for the tremendous confidence displayed in his Government and in the investment climate that the Labour Administration created in St Kitts and Nevis.
Prime Minister Douglas thanked the former and present Attorneys General, the Staff of the Attorney General Chambers, Ambassador Wendell Lawrence and Shawna Brisbane; Mr. Ellis Hazel and the officials in the Planning and Physical Department, who basically outlined the need to preserve the environment in the Southeast Peninsula.
He also publicly expressed the appreciation of the Government and the proud people of St Kitts and Nevis to the entire team of developers for their hard work and the dedication that they have brought and the immense human, technical and financial resources that they have already committed to this most important project.
“I want to thank the people of St Kitts and Nevis, the proud citizens of this fair land of hours. I want to thank our citizens for their patience and for their understanding, especially when we took the first bold step to close the sugar industry and many believed that our future was going to be lost,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He noted that when the Labour Government brought the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino a few years ago, “we told you that this was going to be the beginning.”
“Today, I want to thank Vic De Zen and the Marriott for the confidence that they have brought to this country and the pioneering steps that they have taken in bringing tourism in St. Kitts in particular to a higher level,” said Dr. Douglas.
“And just as I said thanks to Vic and the Marriott, I say thanks to this partnership because through this partnership, the best is yet to come for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” concluded the Prime Minister.