October 17, 2019

OPINION: Is the reopening of Buccament a second chance of an earner for someone?

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By Jolly Green

Buccament Bay Resort failed because it was built by a man that had a dodgy background. The man, an ex-double glazing salesman, had been involved in the with two other companies with unconnected operations to hotels or resorts, both went bankrupt. The man was named in a property scam in Thailand. Any due diligence check on this man and his business background when he first came to Saint Vincent would have found him unsuitable to head such a project in Saint Vincent or anywhere else come to that. The Thailand project took place after the bankruptcies. As such should we not hold Ralph Gonsalves responsible for this whole episode?

A controversial condominium project in Pattaya linked to a British company, which has taken billions of pounds for property projects, which have never been built, was visited by police and Pattaya Consumer Protection Officers. Emerald Palace on Pratamnak Hill, Pattaya, initiated by .

https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/report-david-ames-and-harlequin-under-investigation-for-dodgy-condo-project-in-thailand/

https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/finding-dave-ames-hidden-assets-in-thailand/

One of the Thailand projects was Emerald Palace in Pattaya. The properties were sold twice, first to punters and then to the Kasikorn Bank for a 70-million-baht loan. Several buyers won their cases in the civil courts. But they are still awaiting the return of their investment.

The man is known as , an English man, under due diligence control would have been exposed as unsuitable in any project anywhere. Ames was personally approved by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E Gonsalves despite his unworthiness to enter into such a contract with the government of SVG. Gonsalves prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was later accused of taking a suitcase full of cash as a bribe by two BBC reporters, Gonsalves denied such accusations. What we do know as fact was that PM Gonsalves wife was awarded by the contract interior design and furnish the first handful of villas at Buccament. Some say she was paid more than $1 million to carry out that contract; the actual sum has never been made public. What is also known is that Ames within weeks of being handed over the villas by Mrs. Gonsalves ripped out all she had done and replaced it with his own furniture and equipment.

https://www.iwnsvg.com/2013/02/26/british-pms-wont-behave-like-gonsalves-bbc-official/

https://www.iwnsvg.com/2013/02/27/bbc-producer-totally-out-of-place-pm/

http://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/peter-binose-pm-ralph-gonsalves-wife-first-lady-of-svg/

To compound the Dave Ames relationship, Gonsalves granted Ames Vincentian citizenship.

Gonsalves, who has ministerial responsibilities for citizenship matters, suggested that Ames was granted citizenship because of his investment here but maintained that it is not economic citizenship.

I don’t know whether it has crossed some persons minds, but when a person invests substantially in a country, it is also in some ways helpful for the country itself to give that person citizenship,” Gonsalves said at a press briefing in response to a reporter’s question.

https://www.iwnsvg.com/2012/06/27/pm-defends-giving-dave-ames-citizenship/

At the time Peter Binose wrote the following comments

What he did, he took a whole lot of money from people from all over the World, invested some of that in SVG, not his money, other people’s money. And was rewarded by GONSALVES with citizenship, under what terms we will have to wait until later.

Did anyone do due diligence on AMES before he got into the project? Has anyone done due diligence recently?

I am just studying company reports from the UK regarding AMES and his Harlequin Companies, doesn’t look good, but I will let you all have details later, with all the references. Why can I do this but the GONSALVES regime cannot?

In the meantime have a look at http://www.harlecon.net

Just a thought, is there any chance that the US$1 million in the old crocus bag came from AMES or one of his companies? It had to come from somewhere, and its origin seems to be a family, party or state secret.”

June 27, 2012. https://www.iwnsvg.com/2012/06/27/pm-defends-giving-dave-ames-citizenship/

Just as Dave Ames talked his way into a deal, he didn’t deserve, he was also sold a pup by the glib-tongued Gonsalves. Ames was promised a working international airport to start operations at the same time as Buccament opened. The airport took ten years to build, yet it was only a three-year project.

https://www.iwnsvg.com/2013/06/03/ten-400-seater-jets-a-day-at-argyle-possible/

Ames was also sold land at Buccament that had a background of flooding; it was, in fact, a hundred year floodplain. It flooded, and Buccament employees and local villagers lost their lives.

https://www.facebook.com/CCDRMFundCanadaCaribbeanDisasterRiskManagementFund/posts/resort-developer-denies-building-on-st-vincent-flood-plainpublished-on-december-/570956049648247/

07 Nov 2017: David Ames, chairman of Harlequin Hotels & Resorts, appeared briefly in Southwark Crown Court in London today to plead not guilty to three charges of fraud by abuse of position, as the long-running saga of Ames’s Essex, UK-based resort development company continued.

www.internationalinvestment.net/regions/caribbean/harlequin-hotels-ames-brief-court-appearance/

Ames’s appearance followed an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and will see him return to face trial on 7 January 2019.

Meanwhile, besides overseas investors, Vincentians, except Mrs. Gonsalves [remember she supposedly got the million] have lost money. Unpaid suppliers, unpaid wages. The debts of which may have been underwritten by Senator Julian Francis when he said: “If you have a problem with Buccament call me.”

https://searchlight.vc/searchlight/news/2012/06/15/julian-francis-if-you-have-a-problem-with-buccament-call-me/

In his May 29 broadcast, Francis said the EC$400 million Buccament Bay Resort development is a child of the ULP administration. So if it’s their child, let the debts be theirs as well, because we are all responsible for the actions of our children.

One of the ULP had a house built and supervised by Buccament, can anyone guess who? It was the same one that used to take carloads of cooked food from the resort most weekends.

St Vincent and the Grenadines

In 2008, the Harlequin Company claimed to have purchased the 71-acre Petit Nevis Island. That turned out to be a total lie. It never happened.

Buccament Bay Resort, St Vincent and The Grenadines. Had a soft opening on May 27, 2010. With only somewhere over 300 rooms built out of a 1,000 offered. Some of the cabanas were sold more than once.

Partially happened, but the project eventually went bankrupt.

Brazil

Harlequin Hotels & Resorts advertised the proposed project to build on the island of Tinhare in the region of Bahia in Brazil. The deposits taken on this project were sent to banks outside of Brazil which was an offense under Brazilian law, which requires deposits to be held in escrow accounts within Brazil. Nothing built, deposits lost.

Barbados

Merricks Beach Resort is situated in a stunning cliff top position in the south-east of Barbados. Expected completion of the resort by Christmas 2012. Started but never finished beyond the building of the site watchman’s hut. Everyone lost their deposits.

Saint Lucia

Marquis Estate Resort. Located in the Caribbean on the tropical island of St Lucia, this unique development is in the advanced stages of planning and expected to begin construction in early 2009 completion 2012. The building never took place, the land remains as farmland, and the buyers lost their deposits.

Australia

Harlequin Property and Ravenswood Hotel and Resort at Mandurah.

The off-plan development is due to commence in early 2007 with completion by 2010. I have found no evidence of this happening.

Thailand

A controversial condominium project in Pattaya linked to a British company, which has taken billions of pounds for property projects, which have never been built, was visited by police and Pattaya Consumer Protection Officers. Emerald Palace on Pratamnak Hill, Pattaya, initiated by David Ames. The properties were sold twice, first to punters and then to the Kasikorn Bank for a 70-million-baht loan. Several buyers won their cases in the civil courts. But they are still awaiting the return of their investment.

Panama

Panama Land Opportunity – An Undiscovered Caribbean/Pacific Paradise And A Once-Only Opportunity To Purchase Land At Only £15,000 Per Plot.

David Ames, Harlequin Group. What eventually happened is unknown.

Dominican Republic

Our developments offer a dream holiday home that brings an excellent return on investment. With prices from £25,000, invest in an overseas property at one of our Luxury 5 Star Spa Resorts, offering the following advantages:-

Completion Date: The building of the resort will be starting shortly, and the opening is scheduled for Summer 2011. David Ames, of Harlequin, which is building the Two Rivers development on the Dominican Republic, has part of the answer. “We launched in November and within three weeks, were completely sold out but as always happens, some people found they couldn’t raise the money after all, and so some 20 units have come back onto the market. That isn’t bad in the current climate,” he explained. Last year Harlequin had a turnover of £217m sterling.

South Africa

Harlequin Property has apartments situated in the Western Cape, at the Strand area, which is edged by 35 kilometers of white sandy beaches and the highest sea water temperatures in the Western Cape. “Property in South Africa has been playing catch up in recent years,” says Dave Ames of Harlequin Property.

Goa

“Goa is now a formidable destination for those looking for a holiday home which offers natural beauty and crystal-clear seas, but also capital appreciation in a country where the cost of living is at a fraction of the cost in the UK,” says David Ames of Harlequin Property, which also sells property in Asia. Found no information on this.

All of these frauds fell into place after the deal for Buccament was signed [with the exception perhaps of Thailand], so could it be that Ralph Gonsalves is partially responsible for the whole lot, worldwide. Just the failure to carry out proper due diligence may have been the catalyst for everything that followed. Giving out the initial Vincentian deal most likely gave the credibility required by any good conman to run around the world.

It really is important to read all the attached internet and news sites that I display, and as important to read every public readership comment attached thereto.

Don’t forget this either

https://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/2018/08/06/letter-the-art-of-the-deal-as-taught-in-havana-cuba/

END

: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com or official policies of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com

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  1. […] Along with sisters Jen and Rosiepoos, we took a tour that began in the capital of Kingstown and included Fort Duvernette (pictured below), the Pirates of the Caribbean film set in Wallilabou, the Botanical Gardens and the Buccament Bay Beach resort – a former five-star resort once owned by David Ames. […]

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