16 January, 2008


Land Development in Anguilla Clicks into Overgear just as the World Economy goes into Recession. It is great to see that Anguillians are getting in on the land development act. We were all afraid that only foreign developers would receive the benefits of government’s light hand when it comes to matters of the environment and planning. When Flag at Cove Bay was given the green light to do more or less what it wanted, we were all a bit shocked. Then the Kor/Viceroy boys at Barnes Bay were given the green light to do whatever they wanted, regardless of the environmental implications. Some persons even said that it was only because these were foreign corporations that government was not insisting that they build according to the strict standards that previous developers had been subjected to. Now, we know better. Even local developers are to benefit from government’s liberality.

The Minister of Finance in his recent Budget speech pointed to a very active tourism construction period involving millions of dollars. The new projects that have been approved and are going to come on stream include the following. The KOR Group Meads Bay project of 350 rooms on 18 acres is scheduled to open in January 2009 with a build out period of 10 years and with a projected investment of US$250 million. The Gumbs’ Family Rendezvous Bay redevelopment and expansion project will consist of up to 450 rooms on 40 acres with a build out period of 10 years and a projected investment of US$300 million. The Lake & Kentish family’s Conch Bay project will consist of up to 730 rooms on 361 acres with a build out period of 12 years and a projected investment of US$475 million. The Harrigan Family’s Shoal Bay development project of up to 100 rooms on 7 acres will have a build out period of 3 years and projected investment of US$50 million. The Cap Juluca Maundays Bay development and expansion project anticipates up to 360 rooms (including the existing 98 rooms) on approximately 95 acres, and with a build out period is 10 years and projected investment of US$400 million. Needless to say, all these will take thousands of Chinese and Indian construction workers to complete on time. But, then as my friend the contractor said recently, “I shall never employ an Anguillian worker again for as long as I live”, so that should not be a problem.

I recently came into possession of the proposals for the Conch Bay Project, and I thought I would share them with all Anguillians. This project is not something that we should keep quiet about. Actually, it is very well advertised. A Google search for “Fairmont Anguilla” came up with 831 results.

These are some of the artist’s renditions. Clicking on the photographs will enlarge them for better viewing.

The Fairmont project is certainly the biggest and most ambitious of all those planned for Anguilla. It will transform the south coast of Anguilla.

There will be a golf course.

There are plans for the beaches and coastline.

The Overall Site Concept Plan gives an idea of the magnitude of the project. It may be my eyesight, but I seem to have lost the public road to Forest Bay and as far as the government jetty. Has it all been given away?

Beaches will be recreated where they do not exist.

Another interesting concept is to blast out the rock and to create a new swimming area.

A residents’ beach club will be created.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by government in January 2007. The MOU provided an extremely liberal planning regime for the developer. An Environmental Impact Assessment was called for. But it was not to be taken seriously. Government assured the developers that they would not be bound by anything negative disclosed in the EIA, nor be subject to any control by the Land Development Control Committee. And so it should be. Why should only foreign owned developments be permitted to ignore the recommendations of the Planning Department? Why should any one be concerned about something as ephemeral as the environment? Anguillians, or some of them anyway, have to get their slice of the pie! The Anguilla National Trust was shouting into the wind when it wrote:

The performance of an EIA almost seems like a process in futility since the Memorandum of Agreement, as signed between the GoA and the developer restricts the application of the results in as far as the recommendations contravene what the developer deems to be significant alterations. This term is not only subjective, but it leaves very little room for remedial or alternative measures to be employed even if it is the best interest of the communities to be affected, the country and the project as a whole. The ANT therefore suggests that the LDCC recommends to the Executive Council that in the future all DRAFT Memoranda of Agreements should at least be commented upon by the LDCC before finalization and signing.

Of course, nobody will be paying any attention to this type of reasoning. Damien is going off to work in the private sector. And, we don't need any public beach to be left in Anguilla. We can all use our swimming pools.


  1. Sustainable development is not only about reversing environmental degradation. Nor is it only about reducing inequalities and devising policies that improve the lives and prospects of the poor and marginalised. I believe that above all, it’s about fostering good governance—building the capacity of transparent, accountable and representative institutions at the national, regional and international level; a strong civil society; and responsible business—to work together for a sustainable world.

    --recent UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett

  2. Why is it that site plans like these always show mostly trees and grassy meadows with a few scattered buildings, but when the projects get built, the beautiful park land turns into acres and acres of asphalt parking that resembles the front of a Wal*Mart with palm trees?

    Before the Fair Play Complex was built, Quincy was showing everyone a coloured drawing of a beautiful, tree-filled parking lot. What got built resembles an austere Jehovah's Witnesses' Kingdom Hall.

    I was pleased to read, in the Anguillian article about a new government office building, Victor referring to the present Finance Ministry building as "an ugly box." I'm glad we're starting to progress beyond the Soviet architecture tradition that has become so beloved in Anguilla.

  3. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia and Colony Capital agreed Monday to buy Fairmont Hotels & Resorts for $3.24 billion, adding 87 luxury hotels to Colony's Raffles chain.

    Prince Alwaleed said by telephone from Riyadh, "It's an opportunity where we are getting Fairmont, which is strong in North America, and marrying that with Raffles, which is strong in the Far East."

    --Bloomberg News, 31 January 2006

  4. Raffles Tortola and St. Lucia are being sold and marketed by IMI, the same company selling/marketing Fairmont Anguilla and who previously sold Viceroy. Look on their website (google it)...

  5. So if I can work out a deal with this Prince Alwaleed bin Talal where he takes over my property and I front for him for the next 99 years, inshallah, I am a patriot who's an inspiration to all other Anguillians and all customs duties are waived -- do I have that right?

  6. IMI posted a new press release this morning at http://tinyurl.com/23wh2r
    It says in part that:

    "the Jack Nicklaus Golf Clubs of St. Lucia and Anguilla in the Eastern Caribbean—all projects affiliated with IMI.

    "The latter two reflect another area of Jack’s burgeoning business. The Nicklaus Companies has recently created an exclusive access and reciprocity program for a limited number of elite Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses located in ideal markets around the world."

    Exclusive access for who? Something tells me this may not be exclusively for Anguillians.

  7. Why is it I sense a great deal of grudge and jealousy in both the Blog and the Comments??

    Should we not all be very happy for the Lake Family that they are ableto share in the prosperity of our Island?/ Or, do we prefer that they sell their land to foreigners and let them make the money.??

    Don shopuld likewise do a Blog about his cousins, the Cartys, with their sale of Shoal Bay West (Blue Waters) to the Russians for over 35 million dollars.

    Apply the same rules to that sale Don, as yopu do to the Lakes joint development.

  8. " We have met the enemy,and he is us"

    Walt Kelly (1913-1973)

  9. Let's all ignore the information Don brings us, act like Hubert and attack Don's motives, attitudes and relatives. If we can create enough heat, maybe no one will notice the light.

  10. the first line of Don's blog - about Anguilla's development going into high gear as the world economy goes into recession is the most telling part of this article. For those who watch the world, and the US economies are asking themselves "what is Anguilla thinking?!" This is not the time for all of this as more than 65% of our market is the US and real estate is falling apart in the US and the world. Just today (Monday, January 21st) markets around the world (UK, Germany, Japan) fell drastically based on the fact that the US is heading into a recession (if it's not already there). These developers are selling hype and nothing more. This initial selling point for the two big ones that have already begun construction was to "flip" the properties and double your money in a few years - something that wasn't allowed in Anguilla in its history as speculation was frowned upon. Sales at these properties are telling us that this is not, and will not be a good decision for Anguilla to have undertaken at this time and that people with money are looking for more than these developments have to offer.

    As far as the Lakes benefiting from this, they will only benefit if sales are made and the project is successful. They will not be running the development, the hotel, the villas, the restaurants or the golf course. They will benefit from the economic interest in the land they are selling/leasing to this American/Saudi company if there is to be any economic benefit. The Cartys sold the land to Altamer without having to benefit from Altamer's future projections but will Altamer have a future given today's markets? It remains to be seen. Look back to Don'e earlier blog about the Altamer/Russian connection. Was there ver a conclusion? Perhaps we (GOA) should look into this connection through pre-sales and see who we are bringing to our shores and for what reasons they are coming with all this money. So far, all we have seen from all this development is an increase in crime, an decrease in opportunities for Anguillians and many, many, many more Indians, Chinese and Phillipinos than we have ever seen before. How much more is Anguilla willing to take? How many more foreigners - from anywhere - do we want? Who is going to build Fairmont, Shoal Bay, Rendezvous Bay, Altamer, Viceroy Mead's Bay, Viceroy Savannah Bay and Cap Juluca and Cuisinart's villa projects? Who is going to work there when (or if) they are completed? Did we have a problem with jobs before all of this? Perhaps we did - but not in tourism projects. The problem in Anguilla has been about opportunities for those who do not want to work in the tourism industry, not those who do. Parents always want their children to have opportunities they never had and tourism has been the vehicle to get their children an eduction that they could not afford or had no access to. Where are the opportunities now? We have projects being constructed for hundreds of millions of (US) dollars and there are no internships, no mentoring programmes and work permit applications in the hundred being put forward because no one here can qualify for the jobs. Even during the airport project there were no opportunities for kids from our high school to come out and learn about the incredible engineering project that was underway. When the Blowing Point ferry terminal was being built or the new jetty in Sandy Ground was being created, how many young Anguillians were brought in to see how it is done? Career paths are chosen at a young age around here - how many kids have felt excluded by this whole charade? How many will end up being busboys, waiters and bellman because of the lack of GOA's insistance that young Anguillians be included in the learing process that is taking place before our eyes?

    These developers have run away with this country. Let's make them accountable and make sure that some of us can benefit from what they're doing. Perhaps the "local" projects can take the lead on this. Lord knows, the others have failed miserably.


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