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Following the news that Elite Island Resorts was aboard the Jolly Beach Resort operations, questions arose about where the resort’s entertainment company, Apple Vacations, had been left behind.
Founded in 2001, Apple Vacations is ranked as the fastest growing leisure resort company in North America with properties in the Caribbean, Central America and Europe.
Yesterday, Information Minister Melford Nicholas shed some light on this issue during the Cabinet’s press briefing after the meeting.
He revealed that a memorandum of understanding had not been signed with the US-based company despite recent reports that the government had done so in July.
This now means that they will not go ahead with the company on this project.
“No, we did not sign an agreement with Apple Vacations. There was a proposed MoU, but as we indicated, we had two options in terms of settling how we would deal with Jolly Beach, and in the background of all of that were the negotiations on the transfer of ownership that are now more complete, the government was in a position It enables it to decide on the option we chose.Even if it was in the form of a memorandum of understanding, it would be non-binding and it’s all part of the negotiating position,” Nicholas said.
However, Nicholas said they hope to partner with Apple Vacations on future projects.
“We still want to maintain engagement with Apple Vacations because there are other properties that we’d like to develop, definitely next year, and we want to introduce some of those options or involve Apple Vacations in some of those options as I mentioned one in Morris Bay.
“They will no longer be involved in the operational management of Jolly Beach, this arrangement goes to the elite groups headed by Mr. Rob Barrett, and of course, we continue to involve them and the Sandals group,” he added.
The same can be said for the Sandals hotel chain, according to Nicholas, they have indicated their interest in not only expanding their Anchorage location but adding another facility on the island.
It was announced last week that businessman Rob Barrett of Elite Island Resorts has returned to his position after negotiations with him failed earlier this year.
The hotel owner is reportedly investing US$6 million that he will loan to the government to renovate rooms at the resort and pay severance payments.
The intention is to have 100 rooms ready before the winter tourist season in December 2022.
The Elite Group is said to be one of “a number of options explored” to run the Jolly Beach Resort and eventually won the bid to run the facility.
The government eventually plans to secure ownership of the hotel and its property, which is said to be worth US$30 million.
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