Hyatt Hotel News…..Is Not News

Park Hyatt Still Not A Reality In The Federation

Park Hyatt Still Not A Reality In The Federation

People’s Action Movement
June 09, 2013
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis

The news that the Hyatt Hotel had broken ground in St. Kitts on Monday afternoon did not generate the full confidence as was expected because the Hyatt Hotel development has been in the news since before 2009, and no updates have been forthcoming since an agreement was signed with St. Michael Foundation on September 18 2009 just before elections in 2010.

In 2009 the following report came from the Communications Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM)

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 16, 2009 (CUOPM)

Progress is being made for the development of another five-star resort on St. Kitts’ Southeast Peninsula.

An official signing ceremony between Park Hyatt Resorts and St. Michael’s Foundation Limited is set for Thursday afternoon at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Conference Room at four-thirty.

In the same report, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of St. Michaels Foundation Limited, Mr. Chris Kanhai, had this to say:

“The US$860 million Cockleshell Bay Development on 153 acres of land on Cockleshell Bay, is the future home of a 125-room Park Hyatt Resort and Spa, a 100-condominium Park Hyatt Residence, 86 Estate Villas and the Cockleshell Bay Marina Village with a 160-slip marina and 234 condominium and Town homes.

He said construction of the marina is schedule to begin in January 2010 and the resort in November 2010. The project also includes the several amenities including a casino, four restaurants, tennis courts and swimming pools.

After the signing ceremony Hotels on Line website recorded the ceremony complete with photos:

St. Kitts – Nevis
September 18, 2009

A new agreement between the St. Michael’s Foundation Limited and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts brings to St. Kitts an unprecedented five-star resort destination. The official signing ceremony took place yesterday at the East Caribbean Central Bank Conference Center. The project, Cockleshell Bay, includes plans for a Park Hyatt St. Kitts resort and spa offering luxury residences and hillside estates.

Since construction was not started in 2010, 2011 nor 2012, shouldn’t the good citizens of St. Kitts been given some kind of update as to what was happening. Why wait until 2013 prior to another election to break ground with a new set of partners.  No mention of the St. Michael Foundation Group with whom the agreement was signed in 2009 has been made. Was this a hastily signed agreement for the electorate before all was in place?

Any critical thinker must therefore ask “Was Monday’s groundbreaking a hastily done one – again for an electorate hungry to hear of jobs and development?

The new partners, Range Developments, is a fairly inexperienced Dubai company, with its major recognition on internet coming from its St. Kitts based Hyatt Development which is yet to start. It is known to have some experience is Hospitality Event planning, but its other major building project appears to be in Iraq where it is also planning to put down a 5-star hotel to cater to Iraqi religious pilgrims.  When the BBC interviewer expressed some skepticism about the success of such a project, Mr. Munaf Ali, CEO, Range Holdings disagreed, saying “We are well known to the Iraqi government.”

Full confidence may also have been restored to the project if the investment prospects to the project were cut and dry and demonstrated definite investor confidence. But we are told “The project is being financed through St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme.  It is part of the Christophe Harbour development.” (Caribbean Journal June 4,13)

“St. Kitts Tourism Minister Ricky Skerritt says project investors can qualify for island citizenship as part of a “special pioneering arrangement.” ““ Washington Post, June 4.

Nationals must conclude from all this that selling our citizenship is now our major industry and that the Hyatt Hotel Project is to act as a bait to lure more citizens abroad to assume our nationality.

In these stressful economic times, citizens are eager for good news and want to believe that things are on the up and up.  The widespread publicity this project is given overseas is clearly aimed at generating investor confidence while the country still wobbles economically with a vote of no confidence still hovering over the Prime Minister’s head.

How we want to believe but how can we have confidence in light of the history of the project, the lack of explanation and the fairly unknown new partnerships appearing. Then, are we robbing our cash-strapped Social Services of SIDF funds to provide luxurious living for those who will compete for our citizenship rights?  I want to believe ““ help thou my unbelief!

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