Major development on the cards
Web Posted - Mon Jun 04 2007
By Shawn Cumberbatch
CORPORATE giant CLICO is about to start a more than $212 million transformation of Barbados south-east corridor with the full backing of Government.
Prime Minister Owen Arthur also made it clear that no amount of political provocation would make his near 13-year-old administration engage in whimsical and other vicious relations with the company headed by Leroy Parris. The CLICO Group has interests in insurance, construction, is a major land owner in St. John and is now venturing into the tourism and hospitality sector in a big way.
Arthur announced that by September a massive $200 million restoration of Sam Lords Castle, St. Philip including a 250-room five star hotel and conference facility, plus 200 condominiums would be started by the entity.
Next door in St. John would be the $12 million Villa Nova hotel, with plans awaiting approval for the construction of a 45-unit community there, he added.
Thats not all for that rural parish, however. CLICO has also proposed a golf development along with recreational facilities and condominiums on 300 acres of Government land at Bath, to serve both Barbadians and those who will be holidaying at Villa Nova and Sam Lords.
Addressing management and staff of the Trinidad-owned company during its group awards gala 2005 and 2006 at Sherbourne Conference Centre on Saturday night, the Prime Minister said the region comprising St. John, St. Joseph and St. Philip was the new frontier of development in Barbados.
The west and south coasts were saturated, certainly in terms of the availability of new areas of expansion, he noted.
Each of these [CLICO projects[ falls squarely with Governments development plan for Barbados and particularly the south-east sector.
The regeneration and new growth that will blossom as a result of these developments will be far-reaching, providing considerable employment, new earning capacity and important structures that will service us well long into the future, he said.
Arthur, who was addressing CLICOs management and staff for only the second time in 20 years, said with its substantial landholding acquisitions of Villa Nova and Sam Lords, in addition to a slate of planned projects, CLICO was poised to play a critical role in this countrys development. He also urged other private sector capital investment to follow this future path and take hold of the vast opportunities and modernising of the south-east corridor of Barbados.
The spectacular vistas of St. John, St. Joseph, and St. Philip lend themselves to a wide variety of activities. There is also a need to bring the same level of services and infrastructure enjoyed by the rest of Barbados to these parishes, some of which, like St. Philip, already have substantial residential communities, the Minister of Finance noted.
Governments chief spokesman said the $35 million roadwork programme recently launched in St. Philip was a major signal it was committed to providing the infrastructure to facilitate investment along with the policy framework to stimulate economic activity in the south-east of Barbados. Arthur said Govern-ment would continue to provide the enabling environment allowing companies like CLICO to flourish and further develop the country.
He pledged to stick to his stance communicated at a meeting with the companys top brass following the 1994 General Election, in which he stated no intention of seeking to influence its personnel affairs, nor its operations, and that I was anxious to do everything within the power of the Prime Minister of Barbados to ensure its successful development.
No political provocation can or will cause me to deviate from this position, which has been scrupulously followed, he promised.
I want us to avoid the unfortunate circumstances of so many other better endowed nations, which have failed to realise their potential because of the prevalence and practice of unsound policies, but especially so, because of the deplorable penchant by Governments to engage in whimsical and other vicious relations with their citizens, enterprises and the institutions of the civil society, he stated.
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