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Son of Buccament Bay Resort owner denied entry

Son of Buccament Bay Resort owner denied entry


The son of the owner of the Buccament Bay Resort was denied entry into St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Monday night, as it was believed that he had travelled to the country with the intention of working.

When Matthew Ames arrived at the ET Joshua airport on Liat 737 on May 30 from the United Kingdom, via Barbados, he told Immigration authorities that he was working at the Buccament Bay Resort as a “general supervisor” and was paid a salary of US$3000 a month, a usually reliable source told SEARCHLIGHT.

He, however, did not have a permit to work in the country.{{more}}

Matthew Ames is the son of Dave Ames, the Chair and founder of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, the company which owns the Buccament Bay Resort.

Despite Matthew’s alleged declaration to Immigration authorities, a spokesperson for Harlequin Hotels and Resorts told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that Matthew was not on the company’s payroll and did not have an official job title, so there was a misunderstanding by him about the requirement of a work permit.

According to the spokesperson, Matthew had holidayed at the Resort recently and “naturally represented his father’s interests in an unofficial, unpaid capacity, because Mr Dave Ames has been too busy to visit the Resort himself in recent months.”

The company spokesperson also told SEARCHLIGHT that Matthew is not a director of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts.

SEARCHLIGHT however learnt that on Wednesday, two days after he was denied entry, Matthew applied to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines for a work permit.

When asked why then did he apply for a work permit on Wednesday, if he had no intention of undertaking paid work, the spokesperson told SEARCHLIGHT that because Matthew now realises he needs one, he’s trying to get one.

“Because whilst he is doing a bit of work, he is not actually working for us … in an official capacity. He is related to the boss and he is representing his best interests while he is out there. He worked with us years ago, so he knows about the business…. He thought he would not need a work permit, because he is not on the payroll, not being paid. He doesn’t have an official position. He doesn’t have a job title. He happens to be related to the boss, he has certain abilities that make him useful to the boss.

“That is why Matthew Ames was trying to get into the country. He didn’t think he needed one and that is why I described it as a misunderstanding. He didn’t think he needed one, but now he’s going to try to get one,” the spokesperson said.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that Matthew Ames has worked intermittently at the Buccament Bay Resort since 2005 and has represented the company at various meetings with State entities and private businesses.

According to our source, he had never held or applied for a work permit.

In March 2014, Matthew Ames was sentenced to 40 months in jail in the United Kingdom, having been found guilty of a £1.6 million fraud following a two-year investigation by the City of London Police.

According to several British media reports, between 2008 and 2010 Matthew Ames targeted investors through companies The Investor Club and Forestry for Life with the promise of high percentages and long-term returns on what he marketed asethical, environmentally friendly enterprises.

Matthew Ames then used the money to “cover company expenses and to support his lavish lifestyle of holidays in the Caribbean and driving a Lamborghini. His victims lost as much as £120,000 each,” the reports said.

In addition to the jail sentence, Matthew Ames has been disqualified as a director for 13 years due to causing investor liabilities of almost £1.3 million in relation to the two companies, according to The Insolvency Service. Ames disqualification order started on August 7, 2013.

There is no suggestion that David Ames or Harlequin were in any way involved.