Govt bring Park Hyatt saga to an end
Parliament has repealed the Park Hyatt (St. George's) Resort Act, opening the way for Government to negotiate fresh development deals for the former Club Med site.
The Opposition Progressive Labour Party lost no time in supporting the measures but demanded that Government tear up the lease of Daniels Head as well, as the owners of the 9 Beaches resort had also failed to meet their obligations and owed money to Government.
Government charged that the PLP had made mistakes in its handling of the Park Hyatt, sparking lively debate in the House of Assembly.
And independent MP Terry Lister welcomed the bill saying it's a “chance to put the last developer, Mr Bazarian or whatever his name is, behind us and move forward.”
Mr Lister suggested that the golf course should be developed separately.
“The efforts that have been made in the last two years to bring tourists from Dockyard to St Georges have faltered. They haven't really worked. We need to do as much as we can to rebuild,” Mr Lister said.
Former St George's Mayor Kenneth Bascome said he had spoken to prospective developers of the property and that a new project should begin soon.
That led Shadow Attorney General Kim Wilson to question why it took so long to repeal the bill.
“We are looking at and recognising a decision that was made that was entirely inappropriate, that was ill advised, that we asked for the former government to consider carefully before encumbering the country and we got absolute total push back with complete 100 percent push back,” responded Health Minister Pat Gordon-Pamplin.
Developer Carl Bazarian won the go ahead to develop the 125 acre property in 2008 with a 262 year lease.
But he was unable to secure financing and could not meet the agreed deadline to break ground on the project.
And the former PLP administration terminated the agreement last year before losing the general election.
The repeal Act finalises the termination of the lease and formally returns the land back to the Government.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin described the deal with Mr Bazarian as a “mammoth mistake” which had made “no sense in the first instance” and that PLP MPs had failed the country by not questioning it at the time.
PLP MPs defended their party's actions, saying all parties to the agreement had acted in good faith, due diligence had taken place but the global financial collapse had soured the investment climate.
“I don't think we should cast an aspersion on the Government or the parties involved,” said Opposition MP Glen Blakeney.
But Government whip Cole Simons rose to say that the PLP should admit that it made a mistake as it had not done enough due diligence on the developer.
“He didn't have the resources. If he had had the money we would have a hotel today,” Mr Simons said.
He added: “There was no reason why they closed down that golf course when they were nowhere near developing the hotel.
“People lost jobs and we have nothing to show for it.”