US-based Salamander Hospitality Group has flip-flopped on its decision to invest in the sister island, Barbuda.
Just a week ago, the Salamander group, which had indicated interest in acquiring both the K-Club and Beach House properties in Barbuda, informed Chairman of the Barbuda Council Kelvin Punter that they were no longer interested in the properties.
However, the word now is that the company has reviewed its decision and has had a change-of-heart and so has decided to proceed with negotiations to re-open the Beach House Resort.
News surfaced that the group had reconsidered and just last week Punter told The Daily OBSERVER that he received the news via phone but he had been awaiting documentation before coming to the public.
“The document that I am expecting, I have not received it but I think that they are asking for more time. I think that they have asked for an extension through the end of January to get things tidied up,” Punter said.
The Barbuda Lands Right Committee was not in favour of some of the clauses in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) because it felt the agreement would have been detrimental to Barbudans who would have been deprived of their rights to 3,000 acres of prime coastal lands.
The negotiations had broken down because the investors wanted to buy the lands, which is against policy since Barbuda lands are owned in common by the people of Barbuda, and therefore can only be leased by outsiders.
However, before anything can be finalized, the Barbuda Council and the investment group must first meet with Barbudans at a village meeting in a bid to get their consent.
K-Club, once a top-of-the-line luxury resort that attracted high profile personalities from all over the world, has been closed for upwards of six years, while the Beach House has not been in operation for a number of years.
Meanwhile, former councilman and businessman Lynton Thomas said he will be contesting the upcoming Barbuda Council elections in March.
Thomas, who is now in his 60s, is seeking to become the sister island’s political “comeback kid” after a 38-year break from the political arena.
The former councilman said he intends to contest the poll as an independent candidate because he is dissatisfied with the performance of the current council members, although he’s a supporter of the Barbuda People’s Movement, which controls the council.
Thomas is proposing radical changes to the council, including more involvement of opposition members who have been nominated to the body, a reduction in the size of the council, and for the chairman to be elected by the people.
“If I am elected, I am going to pursue the avenue of reducing the size of the Barbuda Council; it is too large and there are people who are doing nothing. Another thing is that there (is too much) infighting for the position of chairman. I do believe that the chairman or the mayor should be elected by the people and not selected by councillors,” Thomas said, adding that should that individual fail to perform, then he should be removed after the four-year term.