The $90 million deal the previous NDP administration signed with ICA (BVI) Group Corp in July 2017 to redevelop the state-owned Prospect Reef Hotel has evaporated, and the Virgin Islands Party government is now seeking new investors for the property.
“To date, that deal has not materialised,” Premier Fahie said in an interview with BVI News on Sunday. “Many persons with interest continue to make contact with the government,” he added.
His remarks follow Junior Tourism Minister Shereen Flax-Charles’ announcement during the budget debate on Friday that prospective developers for the hotel were met at a recent tourism conference.
“We have spoken to persons at the Sea Trade [conference] who might be interested in developing this property,” Flax-Charles said.
“Our intention is to seek an investor to develop this property [because] we do need a major four or five-star property here on Tortola. And so Prospect Reef is in a good location, and I think that we need to put our heads together to make sure that Prospect Reef comes back to the glory that it was and better in the coming years.”
Security guards need to get paid
In the meantime, Third District Representative Julian Fraser urged the government to pay the current employees of the now ravaged and decrepit resort.
“Believe it or not, there are employees – it got three security guards down there … and these security guards are not being paid. The last time they got paid was August, but they religiously go to work and seemingly no matter who they talk to, they cannot get paid,” Fraser said.
“Premier, I think this is under your ministry. I am saying to you that these people are people too and they have to live,” he added.
The opposition legislator said the guards prevent homeless persons from taking up residence at the run-down facility.
“We have a lot of homeless people. We have a lot of people without homes or places to live and that (the resort) might be a nice place for them to consider. They (the security guards) are trying to keep them out.”
He then called on the new government to give the facility some much-needed attention.
“Prospect Reef has been a benefit to no one for the last 15 years. We cannot afford to lose those kinds of facilities. We are a tourism-oriented economy, and those are the things that we need. We don’t go back when it comes to development and efforts should be made in getting investors involved in bringing those things to life.”
The ICA (BVI) Corp deal
The previous NDP government granted an extension to the ICA (BVI) Group Corp investors from June 30, 2018, to March 31, 2019.
It was not made clear what was being extended or why. But, the developers had plans to construct 150 rooms, condos/townhouses, a marina, conference centre, parking lots, a dolphin attraction, infinity pool, salt water pool, and villas.
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