Karam's Hotel dies
Thieves, vandals and Government's lack of assistance has killed one of Dominica's best hotels
Peter Karam, the Managing Director of Coconut Beach Hotel in Portsmouth says he wants help to save his hotel and he wants it yesterday.
Karam says "the place was robbed and vandalized" after the court liquidated the hotel in July 2002. The judge ruled then that the Karam's had trespassed and built on an adjourning property belonging to George Chabert and awarded damages of more than EC$400,000 to Chabert. When Karam was unable to pay, Chabert's lawyer petitioned the court for liquidation which was granted in July 2002.
Eleven years later the property, originally valued at EC5.5 million dollars, is in ruins and has been overtaken by bush. The place has been vandalized and Karam said he reported the incidents of theft and vandalism to the police more than 20 times but the police has not responded. Selling the hotel has been very difficult.
"We just cannot find a buyer or an investor in Dominica or elsewhere. I just cannot believe that we have put the property up for sale with every single real estate and have also advertised it.
"We have gone through a second liquidator in Clayton Monroe; the first, Austin Winston, was up to his neck, he could not take it no more and he gave it up and the court appointed Monroe.
"We just can't find a buyer no one will buy the place…not even help from Discover or Invest Dominica or the Government that we support," he stated.
He added: "My brother Christian was placed in charge to run the place on behalf of the family but for some unknown reasons, I have sent it to the Unsolved Mysteries, he left the place and went to open his own business with rental of EC$4, 000 a month.
"Bro Christian was supposed to reside and protect there and run the place on behalf of the family all for free and wait the day when it will be sold. But he finds the best thing to do was to abandon the place and so the vultures moved in.
"They saw the place abandoned, empty, no gate, no fencing and they took it over like a mob in frenzy on Sundays, holidays and literally demolished and vandalized the place.
"Millions of dollars have gone down the drain…the hotel was originally valued at EC5.5 million; the liquidator has been going to court every six months and the place has depreciated, vandalized, destroyed by the vultures and I have never gotten assistance, not one call or a courtesy call from the Government to ask what is going on. Not from Invest Dominica," he said.
Karam said that he has "begged all department: 'Can you help us locate a Chinese, French, European, British or whatever investor?' but no one seems to be willing to assist.
"We are hurting, the hotel which was one of the top and best in the Portsmouth area is no more. Toilets, air cons, beds, pots, pans and all that was stolen as if the place belonged to the people…what have we done to them to treat us so?" he said.