St. John’s Antigua- St. Lucia stands to benefit the most from a decision by Jamaican hotelier Gordon “Butch” Stewart not to proceed with a proposed 100 million US dollar resort at Long Bay.
Stewart, chairman of the Sandals and Beaches hotel chain brands, yesterday told OBSERVER Media that he had decided to shelve plans for the new development because of political wrangling here in Antigua.
He was referring to vehement opposition to the project by the Antigua Labour Party, especially from the MP for the area Robin Yearwood.
Stewart and Yearwood have both publicly acknowledged each other as friends, but the former minister has maintained that he is opposed to any development which would reduce the access that locals have to one of the last remaining and most popular recreational spots on the island.
Stewart told OBSERVER Media that the money earmarked for the Antigua Beaches project has since been reallocated. Yesterday, a senior Sandals source who did not want to be identified, told the Big Stories that St. Lucia is to be the main beneficiary of this re-direction of investment funds by the resort chain.
He said the Kenny Anthony administration has already welcomed the proposal for a further expansion of Sandals properties on the island, because of the jobs and overall economic stimulus this is expected to provide.
OBSERVER Media on Thursday morning contacted a senior government official in St. Lucia who confirmed that Sandals is indeed proposing another major hotel development in the north of the island.
The official, who did not want to be identified, said this will involve building over the water near the Pigeon Island Causeway where the Sandals Grande St. Lucia Resort is already located.
He however did not want to disclose further details, as he said the plans were still being discussed.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Antigua Labour Party Gaston Brown has responded to yesterday’s announcement by Sandals Chairman Gordon Butch Stewart that he will no longer proceed with the proposed hotel development at Long Bay.
Brown told OBSERVER Media that while certain individuals within the ALP were opposed to the proposed Beaches development, it was not a position of the party which remains very pro-investment.