Moroccan Hotel Big Fee
Government wants prospective operator of 68-room Moroccan hotel at Portsmouth to pay a million dollar non-refundable fee. Can any Dominican afford that?
There it will sit, on the throne of royalty, kept at bay by a prince named Rupert.
If only someone, anyone, would show some interest!
"The interest are (sic) positive."
There it will rest, erection complete, the shoreline appealing, the waters inviting.
If only someone, anyone, would be interested!
"An interested hotel operator has already visited the site."
There it will be, a flagship, a gift, waiting to be explored, waiting to be exploited.
If only someone, anyone, would express an interest!
"To date four written expressions of interest have been received."
There it will stand, a sixty-eight room luxury, a gift from the government of Morocco, appetizingly placed on the north shoreline of Prince Rupert Bay. With the Cabrits Hotel & Spa nearing completion, the government is looking for someone, anyone, with an interest in managing the property.
"The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica is seeking expressions of interest from appropriately skilled hotel managers or owners to manage or jointly own the Cabrits Resort Hotel and Spa," a notice appearing in several media screamed.
Cabrits Hotel and Spa will be the country's flagship property, making it crucial that the right management company is selected to brand the hotel, Collin McIntyre, the minister responsible for investment facilitation and promotion indicated in a prepared document entitled, "Why an Expression of Interest for the Cabrits Hotel & Spa" and shared with The Sun. Therefore, Invest Dominica, the government agency that promotes investment here, has submitted a Call for Expression of Interest from interested management companies to operate and manage the resort.
"The call for Expression of Interest from appropriately skilled hotel management companies or operators will allow for the selection of the best suited hotel operator to effectively undertake the management and operation of the hotel," the document states.
However, in order to get a firm grip of this symbol of royalty, the chosen operator must put its money where its interest lies. Invest Dominica is asking for a non-refundable commitment fee of between US$400,000 and US$1,000,000. This is to ensure that the chosen operator does not walk away at the last minute, McIntyre told The Sun in a written response to a series of questions sent to him via email.
"If this scenario happens then the hotel owner is compensated via the commitment fee," the minister wrote.
But for the hotelier, Athie Martin, this approach seems like a puzzling contradiction where the government gives with one hand and tightens its grip with the other.
"A management contract does not come with this kind of commitment," Martin told The Sun. "It's as if you're asking the management company to invest in the hotel."
McIntyre explained that the fee spread would allow for negotiation between the government and the interested operators. But as far as Martin is concerned, if this approach achieves one thing it is to exclude Dominicans and, possibly, Caribbean operators.
"It's not for the people I know in the region," the hotelier said. "I can't see a management company coming up with this sort of investment, particularly in a destination like Dominica with all of its problems with air access and so on."
Asked if he felt there was anyone here able to meet the condition outlined by Invest Dominica, Martin was firm.
"I couldn't see that," he said, "I couldn't see that."
But the minister, exuding a certain worldly wise confidence and openness, admitted that there was a risk this demand would rule out Dominicans.
"The key is that the commitment fee is not spent by the hotel owner, but rather is put into an escrow account which is utilized by the hotel operator, as part of their budget," he stated.
This is the commitment from the minister, a commitment to a committed relationship. If only someone, anyone, would express interest.