The renovated Jolly Beach Resort could reopen to guests within months

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The resort has been closed to vacationers for more than two years

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By Carlena Knight

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The ramshackle Jolly Beach Resort may welcome guests again later this year.

News of this latest development in the long-running saga affecting the resort – which has been closed as a holiday resort for more than two years – came via Cabinet Notes yesterday. The end of October has been cited as the proposed timeframe for the hotel’s reopening after a series of renovations.

The hotel will not only have new furniture, but also a new waste treatment plant and a new reverse osmosis water plant, the government has promised.

“What the developer is telling us is that within 150 days, if we start on June 1, we should be able to make up to 200 of these rooms available at Jolly Beach, and before the winter tourist season . by March next year we should be able to add another 160 rooms to this stock,” said Information Minister Melford Nicholas.

“So if we move forward with [haste]we should be able to take advantage of it.

He explained that it would be more advantageous to renovate the more than 400 rooms than to opt for a new investment as previously announced.

“If we go the new investment route, it will probably take us maybe three and a half years before these rooms can actually be built and added to the room stock for our tourism product.

“There is a guest service charge that the government earns that goes into the inland revenue department that eventually ends up in the treasury.

“So you can understand that over 400 rooms don’t attract any tourists, well, we’re actually sitting…on a goldmine, so we want to make sure those rooms are in use,” Nicholas added.

Earlier this month, the government announced it hit a snag in its quest to sell the property when it was discovered there was a US$15 million charge on it by a creditor.

A resolution of this case, according to senior government officials, would take more than two years.

In turn, the Cabinet revealed plans to refurbish hundreds of rooms in the complex through a temporary lease to an unnamed hotelier.

Those plans now appear to be moving forward, with the developer also agreeing to help secure a government loan.

It is unclear whether this loan would relate specifically to compensation for former station workers or renovations.

The Cabinet however reiterated its intention to compensate the hundreds of former employees who collectively owe over EC$7 million in severance and arrears.

The government took over ownership in 2020 due to the company owing millions of dollars to the state, including in medical benefits and social security contributions.

The 464-room resort has been closed since March 2020, when travel to the twin island nation was halted following the Covid-19 pandemic.

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