Buccama project important to NIPI
July 24, 2009
Buccama project important to NIPI

In 2004, Dave Ames of Harlequin Hotel and Resorts was just one of many investors who government officials, including those from the National Investments Promotions Incorporated (NIPI), had been meeting with, in an effort to encourage investment in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

After five years of ups and downs, controversies, progress and slow downs, Chairman of the NIPI Edmond Jackson was at the Jurys’ Inn in Watford, England, discussing the official launch of Ames’ Buccament Beach Resort.

The road to the lavish July 13th and 14th launch, which was held at the posh Grove Luxury Resort, wasn’t a smooth one, and obviously, until the 1,000 room resort, which promises to employ 1,500 Vincentians and provide opportunities to local farmers and fisher folk is opened, all that has transpired thus far can still come to naught.

As he sipped a cold brew, a few years on from the challenges in the beginning, including relocating the farmers who had occupied the lands where the resort is located, Jackson didn’t flinch to acknowledge that the road to Watford had been a rough one.

“If the land is good for survival, it is good for us to die for. I feel I could take a bullet right now,” one of the affected farmers had said at a consultation on Valentine’s Day 2006.

From NIPI’s point of view, despite the obvious benefits, which are the size of the resort and the spin off economic benefits, it is also significant that the project is the first development of its kind on mainland St Vincent.

Jackson said that prior to Buccament, tourism development in this multi-island state has been quite lop-sided in favour of the Grenadine islands.

He also said that ever since NIPI was formed in 2003, there have been those who question the company’s purpose. In Jackson’s view, a project like the one at Buccament will go a long way in showing NIPI’s value, as the investment promotion agency has worked step-by-step with the developers to get to this important juncture.

The Chairman confessed that communications between NIPI and the developers weren’t always the best, and there were times like in May last year when the project ground to a snail’s pace, which was worrying.

But now, Jackson is hopeful that the end will justify the journey, as the project, which started as a 100 room cabana project on about 26 acres of land, has delightfully mushroomed into a 1,000 room, US$250 million project, with a host of specialties.

At the launch, Ames and officials from the Liverpool Football Club announced that the club (the fourth richest football club in the world) will run an academy from the resort. Former tennis star Pat Cash will also be operating an academy there.

Jackson told SEARCHLIGHT that his confidence in the success of the project is also hinged on Ames’s ambitions. The Buccament Resort is the first of five projects that Ames and his investment partners are undertaking.

Jackson has reasoned that as Ames continues to seek investments for his much larger projects like The Marquis Estate in St Lucia, which will include two hotels and a professional golf course, and the Two Rivers beach resort in the Dominican Republic, it is crucial that the July 2010 partial opening of Buccament is a success.

He believes that Buccament’s success will fuel more interest by potential investors in Ames’ dream and significantly raise his profile. “Buccament is his flagship,” Jackson said.

Jackson was part of the local contingent that was flown to the UK by Ames to attend the opening, which was also attended by representatives from other islands where Harlequin has projects.