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Bahamas Govt Signs Heads of Agreement with Club Mediteranee and Sand and Ocean Investments Limited
By Betty Vedrine, BIS
Oct 29, 2013 - 5:22:35 PM

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Nassau, The Bahamas – The Government of The Bahamas entered a partnership with a major hotel resort line - a brand well known to Bahamians. A heads of Agreement was signed on San Salvador on Monday, October 28 with the Government and Club Mediteranee and Sand and Ocean Investments Limited.

Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said the event marks yet another major initiative and advance for the Bahamian people to expand the economy, create sustainable jobs, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“We are doing this in Bimini, in Grand Bahama, in New Providence, in Eleuthera, in Exuma and now in the South-eastern Bahamas in San Salvador,” he said. “There is more to come in further resort development now being planned as we implement initiatives to reduce the cost of electricity, modernise infrastructure, improve healthcare, social, education and security services, expand agriculture and fisheries, create new industries and embrace emerging opportunities.”

Mr. Christie said that the relationship between the government and Club Med has been a longstanding one, as the brand has been in The Bahamas before.

“The partnership between Club Med and the Government of The Bahamas has been constant over the years,” said Mr. Christie. “One of the largest, if not the largest investment in airport infrastructure in the Family Islands, is the San Salvador airport.  It was during my first administration from 2002-2007, when I came to office and found Club Med at San Salvador closed.”

He said that the airport and its facilities were inadequate to accommodate direct long haul flights from Europe, Canada and the United States and as a result, the resort had suffered economic setbacks from hurricane damage and recession. He said that it was then that a decision was made to upgrade the airport and airlift/marketing support, which not only reopened and “turned the property around, but saved and expanded the economy of San Salvador.”

He explained that this new partnership with Club Mediteranee and Sand and Ocean Investments Limited as an added partner, entails a  $90 million refurbishment and expansion project at Columbus Isle Village and on adjacent land in San Salvador.

Mr. Christie expressed gratitude for the company’s support of The Bahamas.

 “ In this regard I most warmly welcome Mr. Xavier Mufraggi, CEO of Club Med, and Mr. Jean Marc Daigle, principal of Sand and Ocean Investments and express my deepest appreciation to them for this vote of confidence in the Government and people of The Bahamas in making this major and strategic investment, which will not only transform the economy of San Salvador but also impact and undoubtedly attract other development and employment in the south-eastern Bahamas.”

He said the credentials and operations of Club Med are well known to Bahamians after having pioneered the now popular all inclusive resort concept and having at one time operated three Club Med villages on Paradise Island, Eleuthera and San Salvador.

“Currently, Mr. Jean-Marc Daigle, principal of Sand and Ocean, has extensive real estate projects in Quebec, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Turks & Caicos, with a concentration in the hospitality industry. Sand and Ocean’s investment partner is Luc Poirier Investment Company, who has an extensive variety of business portfolios, including expertise in real estate,” he said.

The refurbishment works of Club Med, which will start shortly, will include existing guest rooms, buildings, grounds, mechanical plant and the creation of a spa and updating of restaurants.

The expansion phase will consist of construction of 360 new luxury condo-hotel units and staff housing, all of which will be built in phases, to be developed and financed by Sand and Ocean and operated by Club Med.

Additionally Sand and Ocean is planning the construction of a 125-room boutique hotel to be managed by a European luxury resort operator.

All of the above works are to be completed within four years.  During construction it is projected that some direct 335 jobs will be made available to qualified Bahamians and a minimum of 250 Bahamians would be employed in resort operations.  Many other indirect jobs in both the public and private sectors and entrepreneurial opportunities will be created.

Mr. Christie added that further upgrades are necessary at the airport including navigational aides, security, terminal expansion and ground handling.  We have canvassed local suppliers and fixed base operators to provide a reliable supply of aviation fuel and fixed based operation, to which Odyssey Aviation has responded favourably.

“The Government through the Ministry of Tourism will work cooperatively with the developers to promote and support airlift for the benefit of San Salvador as a destination.  A determined and focused effort will be made through the National Training Programme to increase Bahamian employment and to provide a high level of service for the upgraded and expanded resort.”

Mr. Christie also added that the San Salvador clinic would be upgraded and serviced by a full-time medical doctor to meet the needs of both the community and visitors to the Island.

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