Thursday, 28 February 2013 02:30
By Donna-Marie McIntosh
Antigua St. John's - Plans for the development of Barbuda’s abandoned hotels, K Club and The Beach House, are seemingly stalled.
According to reports from another media group in January, the K Club was subject to a 99-year lease, with no performance clause attached.
According to Linton Thomas, former senator and activist, who claims to have a copy of the original lease granted on September 11 1989, the document provides for 241.6 acres at $34,116.00 per annum, providing that the property is always in operation.
Allegedly, if rent was not paid for 90 days or if the lessee breaches, or continues to breach hereafter, the lessor may re-enter the premises. K Club shall be in operation at all times, and cannot be a nuisance to the neighbours. If there is a dispute, they shall go to arbitration to settle the dispute.
“The contract has been breached, according to my understanding,” Thomas said. “The people will pass a resolution, demanding the government fix this.”
Thomas has begun a petition for both abandoned properties. In conjunction, he plans to send a strong message to the government of Antigua & Barbuda “to let them know that the people of Barbuda are very unhappy with the conditions of both hotels”. He said, “Both hotels becoming operational again will be of a benefit to the residents of Barbuda, as it will provide jobs. Action is required. The only occupants of the properties now are wild animals. We are willing to demonstrate and voice our concerns. The main purpose of the hotels was to provide jobs for the people, and this is not the case. With people yearning for jobs, the current state of both hotels is of no benefit to anyone.”
According to Thomas, something must be done after elections, as “The Beach House is ruined, it’s gone – it’s a sight for sore eyes and the people will take action. But there is still hope for the K Club.”
Chairman of the Finance Committee in the Barbuda Council, Fabian Jones, said the “K Club is owned by Mariuccia Mandelli, and they are in the process of taking back the property.”
When questioned by Caribarena as to why nothing had been done sooner, and the cause of the delay, Jones replied that, “There is always an excuse. They say repairs or that it is up for sale, but deadlines must be set. Government and Council need to work together to make this happen.”
Senator Mckenzie Frank meanwhile told Caribarena that The Beach House is leased to a company called Laurus Master Fund, which has pulled security from the premises.
“I cannot really comment, but as far as I understand they are trying to sell the lease,” he said. “The company still owes the Council three quarters of a million in taxes since they took over the lease. Ideally, the government should take back the lease for local investment or even a foreign investment, which will help boost the economy.”
Rika Bird, the legal representative for The Beach House, and also one of the receivers for the management company Beach Properties Barbuda Ltd, has said that there is a huge paper trail that can be followed, and that The Beach House is currently closed and seeking investment and development.
As for the other property, he said, “The K Club is unresolved. The last contact, which was approximately June 2012, stated that some people from The Bahamas were showing interest.”