Number 972 • Friday, June 14, 2013

SIDF Sinks SKN Passport Money Into Christophe Harbour
Dr. Harris Accuses Gov't of Bailing Out Private Sector
By Staff Reporter
Christophe Harbour
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The Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) has invested over EC $43 million in the Christophe Harbor project, a move former Cabinet Minister Dr. Timothy Harris calls a government bailout.
The announcement came by way of an article posted on the SIDF website on Thursday (June 13) informing that the Foundation is minority owner of the real-estate project.
“Darby Family Investment and the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) announce that through a partnership arrangement, they have acquired Christophe Harbor, the residential resort community located on the Southeast Peninsula of St. Kitts,” it said.
The article said the SIDF’s investment amounted to US $16million giving it a 30% stake in the 2500-acre resort development. The article stated that the SIDF and Darby Family Investment partnership would “ensure continued development of Christophe Harbor”.
“The execution of the sale option will ensure that Christophe Harbor continues progressing under its original leadership, and the forward momentum of real estate sales, marina construction, and Park Hyatt, St. Kitts hotel development will proceed without interruption. With the renewed support and investment of the SIDF, Christophe Harbor is positioned to achieve its goal of becoming one of the most attractive resort and yachting destinations in the Caribbean.”
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas was recently asked if the SIDF had bought Christophe Harbor, to which he responded that while the Foundation had looked into it, it had decided not to proceed. He gave no further explanation as to why the SIDF had not invested at that time.
This is the second flagging private development in which the SIDF has invested in order for it to progress. In 2010 the SIDF pumped EC$26,276,980 into the development when it experienced financial challenges. The Foundation now owns 90% of the equity of Belmont Resorts Ltd (Kittitian Hill). The 400-acre project first broke ground in 2010, under developer Val Kempadoo and is set to complete phase one at the end of 2013.
Speaking with The Observer Dr. Harris says there is more to the SIDF/Christophe Harbor deal than is being divulged. He questioned why the Foundation had invested in the private development but had not assisted local institutions when they lost millions on a government bond “hair cut”.
“The SIDF is a slush fund; there is no transparency or accountability. The government is not telling us the full story about Christophe Harbor. How come this supposedly well-resourced project that was to have brought private funds needs to rely on the SIDF for a bailout? Is this role appropriate for a government? And if this money could be found why did our churches, our banks and Social Security Scheme require a haircut?” he challenged.