Department of Information & Public Relations
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE has signed an agreement with the ICA (BVI) Group Corp for the redevelopment of the Prospect Reef Hotel.
Premier Smith signed the agreement on Friday, July 7 on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands while Managing Director of ICA (BVI) Group Corp, Mr. Ali Nawaz Shaikh signed on behalf of the corporation.
Premier Smith, in remarks following the signing, said that Government in 2005 saw the need to continue with the development of the Territory’s tourism product and financial services, and the purchase of Prospect Reef gave the Government an opportunity to move in that direction. The Premier said apart from having a hotel where increasing number of visitors can be accommodated, the idea was to have a conference centre that is large enough to hold major conferences of up to 400 persons.
“We have had occasions where we wanted to have large conferences here in the BVI and had to have them moved to other jurisdictions because of lack of facilities in the Territory. In addition, for BVIslanders and residents, my Government also desired to have an institution to develop culinary skills”, the Premier said.
He added that Government has had a relationship with one of the culinary schools in the United States which has produced some very good chefs, but that the aim was to use the property to further develop a culinary school and by extension develop training in all aspects of the hotel industry.
The Honourable Premier stated that the Government was approached by the ICA Group with a proposal to proceed with the development of Prospect Reef.
The Premier said, “After some discussions by Permanent Secretary, Mr. Penn and his team, we have finally come to an agreement which we could all live with. We are looking forward to having the hotel developed with the additional services. We are also looking at how we could improve the airlift to this Territory.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Ali said it has been a long road of negotiations with the Government, noting that the process was tedious.
He added, “The key thing here is that we have signed an agreement, and we are going to go forward, and I think it’s a success and a win for the people of the BVI, because we will be employing hundreds of people.”
Mr. Ali added that works have started, and that a team including architects, engineers, and master planners will be visiting the Territory at the end of July. The components of the project include the construction of 150 rooms, condos/town houses, marina, conference centre, and parking lots. There will also be dolphin attraction, infinity pool, salt water pool and villas. The project is estimated to cost $90 million.
(1) Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE and Managing Director, Mr. Ali Nawaz Shaikh signing agreement.
(2) From Left to Right, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Brodrick Penn; Premier, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE; Managing Director of ICA (BVI) Group Corp, Mr. Ali Nawaz Shaikh; President of ICA (BVI) Group Corp, Mr. Verlin Crabbe; Partner with the ICA (BVI) Group Corp, Mr. Dion Stoutt.