PLP Calls For Transparency With Hotel Project

July 20, 2015

The PLP said they join “with the people of St. George’s in welcoming the tabling of this Bill, while calling for the OBA to display openness and transparency on this critical project, which gives 10 years of concessions, a 262 year lease, and a casino to a potential developer.”

This follows after Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell tabled the St. George’s Resort Act 2015 in the House of Assembly, with the Ministry saying the proposed $120 million development will include 122 hotel rooms, renovation of the St. George’s golf course, up to 90 condominiums and a casino – which will be subject to an application to the Gaming Commission.

The Venezuela-based Desarrollos Hotelco Group was selected for the project, and the Bill [PDF] tabled in the House allows for a 262-year lease.

Shadow Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva said, “It is vital that a project of this importance to Bermuda be handled in as open and transparent a manner as possible.

“So far the OBA has failed to meet the basic standards of transparency, starting with the process in selecting the developer with one participant describing as ‘a joke.’The principals behind the Dessarrollos Group remain a mystery and when you combine that with the dubious selection process, there are reasons for concern.”

Mr. Desilva continued, “It would be proper at this stage for the Master Development Agreement to be tabled in Parliament and for the OBA to reveal the total estimated cost to the taxpayer for the concessions being granted over this extraordinary 10 year period.

“Before we can give our support to this Bill we must see plans and the Master Development Agreement as part of our constitutional responsibility to hold the Government accountable to the people of Bermuda.”

Shadow Tourism Minister Zane Desilva concluded, “While this is still a long way from getting shovels in the ground, we remain hopeful that this will move beyond these initial stages and that this hotel will become a reality. Tabling this bill isn’t the last step, but the first step in an important process.”

Senator Renee Ming said, “With air arrivals at a 48 year low, the OBA must focus on increasing air arrivals to support this development. The long term success of this project depends on getting visitors to Bermuda and filling hotel beds.”

Senator Ming added, “A hotel is needed in the east end to create jobs, boost the overall economy and stimulate business in the old town. We are eager for this project to succeed and are still hopeful that we will see the old town restored to its proper glory, as a jewel in Bermuda’s tourism crown.

“However, more information is needed as to whether or not key infrastructure needs such as sewage treatment are included in the developers plans.”

“We look forward to the government sharing all critical details of this project and we look forward to meeting with the developer to discuss the plans. The people of Bermuda and the PLP must know what we are being asked to support in exchange for a 262 year lease, millions of dollars of concessions and a casino.”

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Comments (42)

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  1. Eve says:

    Good too hear Opposition is asking what Bermuda will get for $120 million because it is doubtful the resort can be built for that amount. Crockwell and BTA must have been very generous.

  2. TonyC says:

    Ahhh, the PLP make me laugh.

    • Next election says:

      $5 here

    • Impressive says:

      But ofcourse, you don’t want the opposition party to hold the current government to account regarding releasing details of this agreement.. Like how could they dare do that,, just saying

  3. st.geo resident says:

    Why do they need the beach.They better not try to close off the beach to locals

    • Coolieh says:

      You want a hotel, or do you want the beach for yourself?

      • st.geo resident says:

        Not the beach to myself, But i dont want fort st catherine become some beach resturant with prices so high locals cant even eat there. We already have Blackbeards with $8 fries. Plus we cant keep taking away from our natural beauty. Hotel or not . To be honest the people want ships not a hotel.

        • Bermy says:

          FYI…cruise ship tourists only spend an average of $60 during their ENTIRE stay in Bermuda. Additionally, more ships do not create more jobs. Bermuda needs more air arrivals…these are the visitors that actually help our economy but eating in our restaurants, staying in our hotels, renting mopeds, supporting our taxi drivers, and shopping in our retail stores. This hotel is desperately needed for East End tourism and employment so that beautiful St. Georges can be restored to it’s glory!

        • Coolieh says:

          My real questions was, do you want a foreign entity to invest in Bermuda? Well you gotta give something up…it’s their money and choice. If the beach goes along with the lease for hotel guests, at least there is one right across the bay we can use and we have jobs!

          We cannot have our cake an eat it too!

        • brigadooner says:

          No they don’t.

    • frank says:

      In the other islands all beaches. Are public it’s time Bermuda did the same

      • The other islands encourage their locals to interact with the tourist, unlike Bermuda.

      • Not true. Not all resorts are public…

      • PBanks says:

        It would be extremely hard to overturn the current law on beach access I imagine (not to mention being politically inconvenient), best one can do is ensure that all beaches currently available to the public remain so.

        The beaches in that area of St. George’s are gorgeous and I understand why some want to ensure they retain access to them.

      • Cool says:

        That’s not true at all!

  4. serengeti says:

    “we look forward to meeting with the developer to discuss the plans”…

    Let those people meet with anyone, and who knows what will happen.

  5. clearasmud says:

    Where is the outrage against this 262 year lease? Just to be clear this is not the only 262 year lease but many people expressed dismay at the 262 lease for the waterfront so I will wait to see if there are similar concerns with this lease>

    • Claudio says:

      Perhaps because leasing land for a hotel development is much different than giving leasing a strategic port which is the lifeline to the cuontry (import/export) to a company for 262 years.

      • Ann says:

        We will get revenue from a hotel and casino, the only people getting revenue from the Water Front deal were…..

    • Now Ya Nice says:

      I wonder the same thing Why 262 years? I trust they wouldn’t be building if they didn’t expect a return on their investment in 15-20 years? It is fair to assume that if they build it they should assume to reap the benefits long after, I think fair would be +50 years. However 262 years? Look at my past posts, I certainly can’t be accused of being a PLP blogger. I think its a valid question. Maybe there is some valid reason behind 262 – is that the norm in the hotel business? I can see places like Mexico offering up deals like this with millions of acres to build on – but in Bermuda?

      I at least hope that this lease contains clauses to ensure that it is valid only if the hotel is open and we don’t end up with another Club Med.

      • frank says:

        No concessions. Until the hotel is built

      • sage says:

        I agree, are there any leases other than Coco Reefs’ 262 years? Who came up with that number? Why not 123 or 245? 262 years is more than half of our existence. Are there any leases still in effect now that were written up in , say, 1793 or 1812? Curious.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Differences; in the CoH case, it did not go before Parliment for approval, as will be the case here; the Waterfront lease somehow included White’s island which isn’t under the CoH remit; the Waterfront is actually in use currently an is a active part of the city life, the St. George’s hotel area is not; the Waterfront lease was subject of a very contentious and dubious RFP with so many holes in it, including time given for response, lack of details for proposals to follow, it seemed to have been written for the winner, nobody could explain the process for how the winner was chosen…
      While I do find the 262 year lease an odd prospect, frankly, I am fine with it provided it has rider to the effect that a active hotel must be built within a reasonable time period and maintained for the duration of the lease.

  6. clearasmud says:

    Also who builda a casino without knowing If they will get a licence? Noone!

  7. JustAskin2 says:

    Building a casino in Bermuda huh? Wonder how long it will be before organized crime begins to set up shop in Bermuda.

    • Organized crime has been here since they set bonfires on hill tops to lure in ships to get them ship wrecked and then loot the ships.
      Know your History.

  8. bermy bud says:

    Organized crime is here already! What u blind!?

  9. frank says:

    They are. Already here just look a bermudiana. Road

  10. Yes well…transparency is de same as inwizability…I want to see it!.,,so I can understand it…..this thing cannot happinin again…we cannot afford three thousand a day…everyone involved has to come clean….break out that Mr. Bubble!

  11. aceboy says:

    I’d like to hear all about the deal with that Bazarian guy. Transparency and all……

  12. MAKE MY DAY says:

    Ha, ha ha!! Transparency!!! Like they had for 14 yrs???

  13. KnowledgeCollege says:

    Really people? How do you not understand that this is a good thing? $120 million IS NOT being spent by our government. A foreign investor is putting these funds into Bermuda. This is money COMING INTO the country. This is foreign exchange, which helps to provide jobs during construction and after construction, plus all the goods and services from other places that this hotel will need to survive. This is good for Bermuda, it’s economy and its people.

  14. Dude says:

    the PLP can’t even spell transparency!

  15. E. Gamble says:

    I hope you get input from the residents of St. George as to the design of the buildings, they should be in Bermudian Tradition, nothing gaudy like what was there before. Remember St. Geo. is a protected site.
    Perhaps you should have an international architecture completion as to the design. It should not protrude on the skyline. Keep it all Bermudian please!

  16. E. Gamble says:

    P.S. The lease should only be for 99 years! then renewed another 99 years! etc.