Prime Minister Douglas welcomes SIDF’s financial involvement in Kittitian Hill, OTI and Christophe Harbour
|Kittitian Hill in Belmont, St. Paul’s, St. Kitts|
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 19TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The decision of the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) to provide financial assistance to three projects in St. Kitts has been welcomed by Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
Responding to a question during Tuesday’s edition of “Ask the Prime Minister,” Dr. Douglas pointed out that in the absence of details from the SIDF in relation to the investment in Christophe Harbour on the Southeast Peninsula, the SIDF is an institution, a foundation, that is well structured, well organized and is a legal body that can speak for itself.
“However the government supports what the SIDF has been doing. The SIDF stepped in at a very critical juncture when the Kittitian Hill Project, which we believe was important to help us advance the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis and stabilize it, at a time when we were in severe turmoil,” Dr. Douglas said.
He said the SIDF was right to intervene in the Kittitian Hill Project when it acquired 90% of the shareholding.
“We supported it,” he said pointing out that the Kittitian Hill Project has been stabilized. It is now working. Some 300 people are now working there and it is now planned to be open in December,” the Prime Minister told listeners.
Dr. Douglas said Government is now of the view that the time has come for the SIDF to step aside and make arrangements to sell its shareholding in the Kittitian Hill Project and move on to other things.
“That’s why we supported the SIDF when it took a decision that came to the attention of the government. We lauded it, we praised it,” added Prime Minister Douglas, who said his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government also supports the SIDF’s financial assistance to the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI).
“The OTI Hotel as we know is one of our small so-called gem hotel in the Basseterre area. It has always been of a local nature (and) it is owned by TDC and to a large extent the government supported the SIDF when it indicated to us that it was going to lend millions of dollars to TDC so that the OTI can be refurbished,” Prime Minister Douglas said.
The Government he said continues to be serious in pursuing tourism development and lauded Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Ricky Skerritt for his aggressiveness in bringing support to the small hotels sector and not just the large hotels in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“I believe his advice to the Cabinet was correct when he said that the SIDF indicated that it was going to lend millions of dollars to the OTI so that it could be properly refurbished,” Dr. Douglas said, adding that likewise government will support the decision that has been taken by the SIDF to invest in Christophe Harbour.
“Christophe Harbour (where the Park Hyatt St. Kitts is now under construction) as you know is a project on the South East Peninsula (with) close to 2,500 acres of land which is in fact the most pristine of our tourism lands in our country, now that we have built out the Frigate Bay area,” said Dr. Douglas, pointing out that the Government never owned one square foot of land on the South East Peninsular.
He said the SIDF is in a position to take some ownership of that project and it is the right thing for the SIDF to do.
“To become involved in what is the most impressive and progressive hotel and tourism development project to date in St. Kitts and Nevis, where the people of this country or government did not have ownership. I believe the SIDF has done the best thing it could to represent the people of St. Kitts and Nevis in acquiring at least 30 percent of the shareholding of the company that owns that particular project,” Dr. Douglas said.
He said he is still awaiting more details and after been properly briefed and the Cabinet informed officially, the appropriate statement would be made to the country by way of the Cabinet Briefing or during his monthly press conference.
|Recent ground breaking for the Park Hyatt St. Kitts|
He believes that the intention of the SIDF on this project was to ensure that the project does not falter as the ownership of Christophe Harbour was changing hands.
The Government will benefit from all of the activities that will take place and if the government benefits, then of course the people of St. Kitts and Nevis will benefit, said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said that with the SIDF involvement in Christophe Harbour, SIDF will have more than a watchful eye on behalf of the government and the people.
“It will have I believe a presence to determine how the project is developed and when it would have been satisfied that it is achieving the developmental achievement of the people and the government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“I believe that it will want to do as it has done and make the decision whether it will stay or make the exit at the right time. It is a lucrative business, it is investing millions of dollars that it has in long term investments which is critical for the survivability of the Foundation which we support and so I see nothing wrong with the SIDF investing in Christophe Harbour,” Dr. Douglas stressed.