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Ames: ‘We have no money shortage’

Ames: ‘We have no money shortage’

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The majority of the staff at the Buccament Bay Beach Resort project have been laid off, but the investors in this US$200 million project say that this will be a short-term situation, and it is for a very good reason.{{more}}

Amidst swirling rumours that they have run out of money and the much touted project is going south, Chairman of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, Dave Ames, hastily called a press conference last Saturday, May 24, at The Grenadine House, to set the record straight.

He announced that about six weeks ago, his company signed an agreement with Spanish hotel chain Oasis to run the resort.

According to Ames, the hold up has to do with some discussions between his group and Oasis about the configuration and final design of some aspects of the resort, like the size and location of the restaurants.

He said that the final layout is being reviewed by Oasis, so major construction was put on hold until this is rectified.

Ames was, however, quick to give the assurance that the layoff is not expected to last long.

“I believe that over the coming weeks we will begin to employ more and more people, I can’t say to you that it is going to be a week (the lay off)…or six months. I know that it will not be six months. I know it will be weeks, may be two months,” he said when pressed on the timeline.

Ames was also adamant that the resort will open in 2010 as planned.

“The plan is we will open the hotel in full in 2010, the difference of what’s happening at the moment, the few weeks or a couple of months, what ever it is will have no reflection on that at all,” he said.

“We have no money shortage, not at all,” Ames said when asked again by SEARCHLIGHT a couple days after the press conference.

The Oasis Hotel chain operates 39 hotels in several Spanish speaking countries, including their headquarters in Spain, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico and Morocco, of which most of them are five star rated.

Ames touted the projected successes of the Buccament Bay project, saying that with Oasis on board, there are many advantages.

Included in these advantages is that Oasis also operates a chain of about 1500 travel agencies in Europe and the United States and a fleet of over 40 large jets, and all these enterprises work together to ensure high occupancy for their destinations, including Buccament Bay in 2010, Ames, the government, and all concerned hope. Ames reiterated the prediction that once fully operational, the resort should employ about 1,500 persons, most of whom will be Vincentian nationals.

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