14 June, 2009

Viceroy Delayed

The July “soft opening” has just got even softer. As recently as a week ago, 8 June, the Hon Minister of Finance, Victor Banks, gave a reassuring speech over Radio Anguilla about Viceroy being “well on the way to a soft opening in July". This, he said, will result in the employment of a number of Anguillian workers. Certainly, as of that date the Viceroy management had not informed him that there was likely to be any delay in the previously announced soft opening scheduled for 1 July 2009.

The original opening was supposed to be in 2008

To go back in time a bit, we will all remember that the original soft opening was supposed to have been in December 2008.

Then, they announced that the opening was delayed until 1 April 2009.

Later, that date was quietly changed to 1 June without anyone giving any explanation.

I wonder what the investors in apartments or villas made of these repeated delays and disappointments. The amounts of money they had to commit were huge. Contracts were signed and deposits made on the promise that the project would be completed before December 2008:

Prospective purchasers committed large sums of money on a promise of a 2008 opening

I wonder how many deposits National Bank of Anguilla financed? The risk is that some of these purchasers, badly hit by the current recession that began only after they signed the contracts, will not complete their purchases and will not repay the bank loans.

Then, in May of this year, a visit to the Viceroy website indicated that reservations were not being taken for June any longer. They were only accepting reservations starting 1 July.

This delay was a big concern for us in Anguilla. We all remembered that in December 2008, the House of Assembly had debated and passed the national budget for 2009. At that time, members of the Opposition questioned how government could be anticipating an increase in revenue as they did. The Minister of Finance reassured them with these words:

“He said the increase in revenue of $4 million over the 2008 figure was mainly expected from Stamp Duties resulting from alien landholders’ licenses to be issued to purchasers of real estate when the Viceroy project opens for operation in 2009.”

Now comes the latest disappointment. Viceroy has, as of yesterday, just quietly stopped taking reservations for July. Its website shows that the planned resort now has its reservations commencing in August.

Viceroy online reservations now permits bookings only as of August 2009

Those persons who made reservations for July are being assigned rooms at Cap Juluca and Cuisinart. They have begun to question what is going on:

Yesterday's complaint on Trip Advisor about a cancellation of a reservation

There has not been any public announcement by Viceroy or anyone in government, far less the media. I would have thought that the event would have made the news. But, maybe, no one in government or the media knows yet.

The Hurricane Season has already begun.

I am sorry to be the one to have to tell Victor, but our 2009 Budget has just taken another hit. There will be no revenue from Viceroy for the first half of 2009.

Another clip from the same Trip Adviser page

There is a further concern. How can there be any expectation that Anguillians who were banking on taking up employment with Viceroy in 2009 will hang around to see if the Hotel will really open in August? If I were paranoid, I would ask if it is possible that these last minute changes could be partly designed to ensure there are no Anguillians available for employment when they do really open? Or, is there some more serious systemic problem that we do not know about?

In my humble opinion, we will be lucky to see any revenue at all from Viceroy for the balance of 2009. In my view it is unlikely that there will be any Anguillians employed at Viceroy for the foreseeable future.

The Labour Department better start hiring an interpreter qualified in Tagalog.

Related posts:

27 June 2007: Slave Labour

28 June 2007: Hunger Strike

22 July 2007: Kor Realty Group

20 January 2009: Soft Opening

26 February 2009: Barnes Bay

15 March 2009: Meads Bay

29 May 2009: Pinoys


  1. My concern lies with the workers who were "enticed away" from other resorts and villas with promises of work in June, July, and now August(?). Are they at least being compensated somewhat for their loyalty to Viceroy in leaving their other work in belief of work from Viceroy till Viceroy actually DOES open?

  2. The bride whose wedding is planned for August must be freaking out.

  3. I walked through Viceroy a few days ago. It was pretty impressive looking but felt really "cold".

    The main impression is that everything is built on top of everything else.

    For example, one of the master suites facing the ocean (complete with hot tub on the deck) is right next to a walkway with just a 6 foot wall separating. That is not a lot of privacy.

    They are now constructing REALLY high walls (I mean like 12 - 16 feet plus) between the large villas on the west end. Looks like a concentration camp. The buildings they have need to be on a piece of land at least twice as large as they've built on - maybe even 3 times. There is no privacy for anyone.

    Most of the work seem to be concentrated on finishing the hotel on the eastern edge. The main hotel seems complete - including furniture in the rooms.

    The main entrance is complete, including a large roundabout, but is not impressive in any way. Maybe some landscaping will help, but there is not much room for that.

  4. Some of the unemployed workers claim to have quit good jobs based on promises of jobs from Viceroy. While they may have a potential claim for civil damages against Viceroy, this same Viceroy is the only hotel that's hiring, so they're sorta trapped.

    This being an election year, Hubert is using them by urging them to go to the Labour Department to get Government to force Viceroy to compensate them. Hubert, of course, as a former Minister of Labour, knows full well that all the Labour Commissioner can do is suggest they hire a lawyer.

    Meanwhile, an employment agency in Manila continues to advertise for 180 hotel jobs in Anguilla, which can only be for Viceroy, and obviously believe the Minister of Labour will approve these 180 work permits. No wonder the Minister announced his retirement from politics last week.

  5. it is said that viceroy owe monies to many local people, companies, businesses etc. If so i hope the GOA will not allow them to open until all are paid in full.

  6. It is not Viceroy that owes local companies. It is Flag. Viceroy does not owe anyone in Anguilla a single penny. They pay their bills on time. Don't mix them up.

  7. Help me out, please: are there any Anguillian major projects that actually opened ON TIME?

  8. Yes, the airport extension project, which was the largest public works project ever done here, opened on time.

  9. Other large projects such as Malliouhana and Cinnamon Reef may not have actually opened on time. But, they were entirely built with the developer's own money.

    Flag and Viceroy are the first ones in Anguilla that depended on selling villas and apartments to be able to complete the project. People invested money on the promise that their properties would be ready by a certain date.

    That is one of the reasons why the delay in completing those two projects is so egregious.

  10. Any major projects done by outside entities successfully handled and operational ON TIME?

    The Government's Airport project done on-time, but there are now questions of how compensation was handled?

  11. October opening,check it out.

  12. Does anyone know the reason for the delay?
    There is alot of negativity concerning the posts...The resort looks amazing online, for those who have posted comments and have seen the resort live, does it look anything like the pics? There are supposed to have a 100 yard infinity pool that drops into the caribbean, is this info legit? The Cap Juluca and Cuisinart look horrible online compared to Viceroy, especially the rooms, they totally need updated....Does anyone think the Viceroy would be worth going to in August?

  13. The reason there is so much negativity about these projects is because most Anguillians don’t understand why there was so much development approved in the first place. 5 years ago the island was moving along in a slow but definite direction. We had the largest percentage of returning tourists in the Caribbean. Our guests were now bringing their children and grandchildren. We had something few other island had. A quiet unfettered tourism destination where you could escape completely from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a peaceful break from reality. Our small resort model (no more than 100 rooms) allowed for the atmosphere. Our politicians however were looking at the grass on the other side. They though it was greener. Not out of corruption, but out of lack of education, they embarked on an ambitious development program that would multiply the present hotel rooms eight fold. Any social development professor could have pointed out that the infrastructure requirements of such a path would be far greater monetarily than any of the revenues generated, especially after all the concessions granted. Any person educated in social engineering would have pointed out that the required manpower (over 8000 workers directly and many more to take care of those 8000) over the nest 10 years would require massive spending in roads, hospitals, schools, water etc.. Of course as we only graduate about 250 students every year, where were the new workers going to come from, and who were we developing this country for? Of course, like anywhere else our politicians were blind sided by the $$$$ signs and clueless to any of the negatives that come along with such a massive development initiative. Anguillans didn’t property voice their concerns, also because they were not informed of any of the possible negatives. The politicians probably weren’t even aware of the negatives themselves. If they had only bothered to research similar jumps in development they would have had their answers. Unfortunately that assumes that politicians should know better and that they are properly educated to run a country. It was only after all these projects were approved that we saw information being published about the possible detrimental effects. Our leaders brushed those concerns aside with promises of golden eggs for all. Anyone who voiced concerns was viewed as unpatriotic. It wasn’t long, however, before many began seeing the problems associated with such large scale development. Our faithful repeat tourists began blowing the whistle almost immediately. Their complaints fell on deaf years. I guess we all thought that we could replace the complainers with scores of new tourists that would want to rush to our shores because now we were...........like every other island in the Caribbean? Overdeveloped, full of crime, souring population.
    Our model of adding a 100 room resort every 5 years was replaced with I want everything and I want it now! Anguillians bought into the rhetoric and are to take much of the responsibility for the situation we are in.
    5 years ago very few people owed money to the banks. Now we are a nation of debtors. Our government has racked up the largest debt burden in our history, and is having a hard time making it’s payroll. People are losing their jobs, their cars and now maybe their land and homes. Banks are bracing to for the wave of defaults in the pipeline.We need to draw a new national plan. Where do we see Anguilla in the next 20 years? Do we want all this development? Is it too late to turn back? Have we killed the goose?Do we need a charismatic leader to take us out of this mess, or can we all come together and require the necessary changes. Are we up to the task?It is a pity. We could have been the shining example for the whole Caribbean to emulate. Such a small island with such a small population. We could have done things the right way and forged a path for others to follow. I don’t see any new leaders out there with any promise. Such a waste

  14. so what is new
    its the fault of the government
    the govt tries to improve your life yet you complain all the time and do nothing

    what you individual did beside raping and taking the money of the developers
    how much did you invest from your pocket in viceroy or any project

  15. the negativity towards viceroy is all over Anguilla for many reasons...
    1. they do not pay vendors in a timely fashion
    2. they bad mouth other properties and say how they are going to blow them away even though those properties are the reason viceroy wanted to come to Anguilla in the first place
    3. they are extremely arrogant - from their GM and his wife to the Carillion workrs who continue to tell everyone how much better off the Indians are here than they would be at home.
    4. they brought in slave labour instead of giving jobs to Anguillians
    5. they treat the Indians very poorly and pay them an obscenely small amount and make them live in squalid conditions
    6. they will hire Filipinos rather than Anguillians
    7. they contribute very little, if anything, to the community in Anguilla (ask what happened to the US$2 Million they pledged to the schools)
    8. they went to local landlords and offered ridiculously inflated prices for houses and apartments and many people lost their homes and cannot afford to live now that the balance has been disrupted.
    9. They gave up those houses now that they have to save money and now the landlords are screwed too.
    10. they chased away our "regulars." Many of whom will never return.
    11. They have insinuated that Anguilla is only for the rich and famous and brought a very Los Angeles attitude to a formerly peaceful place

    I'll think of more but i have to go back to work.

  16. It may take a generation to recover from bad decisions by our government over the past few years with developers such as Viceroy which may never open and even if it does will forever leave a bad taste and bad feelings within Anguilla.

  17. I was in St. Thomas during the 70's. There were other Anguillians in St. Thomas in those days, perhaps they remember that:
    St. Thomians were ridiculed because "they were too lazy."
    Many young St. Thomians turned to drugs and thought they were owed a living because they were "born here."
    Alien workers were brought in, mostly from down-island and had to have work permits.
    There were those that complained that "foreignors" came in and "stole" their (or their grandparents') land by paying too little for it (which was the going rate at the time).
    Locals went into debt and couldn't pay and eventually lost property to foreclosure, or forced sale.

    I could go on. Does any of this sound familiar?

  18. According to an article published June 19 in online in Hospitality Design magazine (http://www.hdmag.com/hospitalitydesign/industry-news/index.jsp), Viceroy Anguilla is set for a November debut.

    According to the article:
    "The Viceroy brand will make its international debut with the Viceroy Anguilla Resort & Residences, which officially opens in November following an August soft opening. Situated on 35 acres, the property offers 166 beachfront and blufftop villas, townhomes, and residences. Designer Kelly Wearstler has injected timeless, sophisticated style into the interiors, using organic elements such as driftwood lamps, petrified wood tables, and travertine marble floors. Complementing these features are handcarved wood pieces from Asia, hammered metalwork from India, and beaded artwork from Africa.

    Viceroy's signature restaurant, Cobà, offers 180 seats indoors and out with views of Barnes and Meads Bays. The Sunset Lounge will serve aged rum and Cuban Cigars, while Half Shell, an enclave carved out of the cliff side on Barnes Bay, will be an ideal stop for cocktails and cold beer. Other resort amenities include an infinity pool, an 8,000-square-foot spa, kids' club, and fitness and aquatic centers."

  19. here's the latest!


  20. booking form now shows room availability from 16th August

  21. perhaps Mr. Reid has already ordered the three level set of Tagalog for the labour department from RosettaStone... it's only $499 !

  22. I heard that the Viceroy will finally be ready to open on Aug. 1st. They are almost complete with everything and finally there will be no more push back dates as opening will be ready and set by the 1st. Cheers!

  23. I'm an American,and when I visited beauitiful Anguilla and saw what Slimey Viceroy was up to,I was saddened. They are arrogant,con-artists. 1. Anguillans, never believe big business from the U.S.A. 2.Make them pay for the disruption to the quality of life and pain and anguish caused native Anguillans. 3. Demand that all future construction projects employ 75% Anguillans and the remaining workers come from near by islands.4. Do not allow Viceroy to prohibit access public beaches mandated in the Constitution! 5.Demand 60% of employees be Anguillans. 6.Provide hospitality training.7.Pay the 2 million dollars you promised to the schools of Anguilla.I told Anguillans when I last visited, that Viceroy was the beginning of the destruction of one of the most beautiful islands on earth. The peace,space,people,food,quiet and spiritual aura made it sooooo special. Viceroy came,saw and destroyed. Take a lesson from New Orleans. They're making sure no one like Viceroy comes in and ruins a national treasure of America. Anguillans,please wake up. You can no longer be passive!

  24. I disagree totally.......Viceroy only makes the island of Anguilla a better place! It is an amazing resort that blows away anything else on the island. Anguillians should be thrilled and excited, this is opportunity like never before. Capitalize on it, don't damage it.

  25. Mayakoba Viceroy is a farce. Many people have been mislead to deposit 20% of multi-million dollar villas. Opening would be end of 2008 and no it’s delayed with no notice whatsoever to their inverstors till further notice.
    No construction is being done at this date Aug. 2009.
    All construction which started in 2007 and 2008 is rotten already due to heavy weathre conditions. No working men on site and no body is responding to any questions and calls.
    Please do not invest in these Viceroy KOR hotel group projects!

  26. What ever happened to the two or three lawsuits filed in the courts by the owners of Viceroy units? I believe they were demanding their deposits be returned?

  27. This project is about to go belly up

  28. I believe the UK Government should step in to take control of yet another Turks and Caicos alike island. God bless the Queen !

  29. Yes Anguilla is the most beautiful place i've ever been but the person who is working as a front desk like in paradise cove she is abig woman but she don't know the word hospitality, even the chefs if she don't want to cook she won't unless the employer is there how come the employer of these hotel accept those kind of employees....THEY SHOULD LEARN AND STUDY what is the meaning of working in a hotel and what is hospitalization...


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.