Progress has stalled on the Beaches resort project in Barbados, on the site of the former Almond Beach Village in St. Peter.
The Barbados government contends that the hotel chain was seeking more concessions than had been granted by the previous administration, according to a report in the Jamaica Gleaner.
Barbados prime minister Mia Mottley, who is also the minister of finance, economic affairs and investment, said in the Gleaner report that while her administration remained committed to the previous agreements, "we have reached a difficult moment in the negotiations. Barbados welcomes the Beaches project, but it cannot be at any price."
In a statement from Sandals Resorts International, chairman Butch
Stewart said the development "is equally disappointing for us."
"We wish to clarify that we were not asking for anything more than what was promised," he said. "The Beaches project, at over $420 million, would have represented not only our largest single one-time development but also the largest long-term hotel project in Barbados.
"Such a large project carries concomitant long-term risks, and as such our lenders who are the banks, as well as our board were seeking a level of stability by having parliamentary approval of the concessions that were already promised."
He added: "We fully respect the government's position in this regard, and we would never want to put them in a compromising situation.
"Even though a huge amount of money has already been spent on beach work and on development plans, engineering and architecture, the fact is we know that both sides worked very hard to make this project a reality," Stewart said
The Beaches project in Barbados was first announced in 2013. The company already has two resorts on the island, Sandals Barbados, which opened in 2015 and the adjacent Sandals Royal Barbados, which opened in 2017.
"Both resorts are performing very well," Stewart said. "Everyone can rest assured that we fully intend to stay in Barbados and continue to market and promote the island as one of the most amazing destinations to travel to."
The Beaches resort would have moved Sandals' total employment on Barbados to 3,000. "When combined with the other two resorts, this would have resulted in an annual economic injection of over $100 million into the economy of Barbados every year," Stewart said.
There are three other Beaches resorts: Two are in Jamaica and one in Turks and Caicos. But the Beaches Turks and Caicos is scheduled to close in January 2021 pending a lawsuit against the Turks and Caicos government over a tax-related despite involving the resort.