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Bascome welcomes St George’s hotel project

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MP Kenneth Bascome (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

St George’s MP Kenneth Bascome has hailed the proposed hotel development on the old Club Med site as the “real thing”.

Mr Bascome said he understood that some might still be sceptical about the project given the number of false dawns residents had endured over the years.

But he told The Royal Gazette that he believed the community needed to allow the process to take its course for the rewards to be reaped.

Mr Bascome’s comments come after the legislation paving the way for a luxury St Regis hotel to be built in St George’s was passed by the House of Assembly last week.

It is scheduled for debate in the Senate today.

Opposition MPs had voiced “serious concerns” about the St George’s Resort Act, claiming that late amendments to the Bill would penalise Bermudians.

But Mr Bascome dismissed the suggestions, maintaining that the multimillion-dollar project would provide employment and training opportunities to Bermudians.

“At this stage the naysayers are going to find every conceivable notion they can conjure up to throw a spanner in the works,” said Mr Bascome.

“I am hopeful that the developers don’t become discouraged by the amount of negativity swirling around at the moment.

“I find it very difficult to believe that a developer would come to Bermuda and expect to be successful if he does not provide opportunities to Bermudians.”

Shawn Crockwell, the Minister of Tourism Development, has pledged that after nearly three decades of lying fallow, construction work on the East End’s vacant hotel property will begin before the end of the year.

Plans include 122 hotel rooms, six estate residences and a possible 90 condos, renovations for the St George’s Golf Course and — subject to Gaming Commission approval — a casino.

Concessions for the development, which the One Bermuda Alliance has called the most important hotel development in 40 years, are expected to add up to $30 million over the course of ten years.

Mr Bascome said: “My understanding is the kind of concessions given to the developers now are in principle very similar to the concessions granted to Bazarian.

“I have been assured, and the Minister has told the House, that the golf course will remain public and the beach will also remain public.

“This development is hugely significant to the town of St George that has been allowed to linger in the doldrums for long enough.”

The new hotel will be built on the site of the old Club Med in St George's