Executives for the Christophe Harbour Development say they are proud of the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation’s (SIDF) $43.2 mil investment in the project. Christophe Harbour Chief Operation Officer Bill Lee said it was a positive thing that a foreign developer saw and wanted to “bring the people of the country in”as an equity partner. He was referring to the SIDF’s partnering with the Darby Family Investment Group in June to buy the real-estate project at Sandy Bank Bay, St. Kitts from new owners South Street Partners. On June 3, South Street Partners bought Kiawah Partners, the original and primary investor in the 2500-acre resort and luxury marina development. When the news of the SIDF’s investment in Christophe Harbour was announced, there was much public outcry that the local Fund had pumped US $16 million into a foreign-owned project. The local government, SIDF and Christophe Harbour officials defended the investment, touting it as an investment in the people of the country. When asked why it was necessary to obtain the SIDF funding, Lee said, “It wasn’t necessary.””It was desirable to have a strategic partner; gotta have friends and partners in this area,”he said. “I’ve been doing this type of work for a number of years in the West Indies and I’ve never seen a foreign developer say ‘my strategic plan is to bring in the people because I will be creating a destination with new industries and there’s no way that I can get that many appointments and collaborations to pull this off; I need a local partner to succeed’. “So that’s a great story and one that I know we are very proud of,”he said. Buddy Darby, Christophe Harbour CEO, who has acknowledged the challenges the project has faced over the years, said he had to “re-set the clock”on the development and seek partners who shared the same vision as his company as it related to Christophe Harbour. He said he had other potential investors but opted for the SIDF. “I inherited some partners and those partners didn’t have the same goals and objectives as we did. So I had to reset the clock and when I looked around I had other people wanting to invest money but I wanted a strategic alignment with a partner that would be here for the long term. “SIDF had both capital and they had the inclination and the charter to co-invest with us and to make sure that this is long term, where everything that we do is a building block to creating value, creating jobs and creating a sense of place here. So far it’s been very enjoyable to interact with Terrence Crossman and to have SIDF as a partner,”Darby stated. Nuri Katz, CEO of Apex Capital Partners, opined that the SIDF’s investment was a sign of confidence in the project that potential investors would find favor with. Katz’s company last week launched Ocean Grove Villas and Windswept Residence Club, two multi-million dollar luxury residential projects at Christophe Harbour. “…the involvement of the SIDF or the government, as a foreign investor or someone who doesn’t know the country very well, the support of the government and the government being invested in such a project really makes us believe in the long term future and will not only have a positive effect on myself and my partners, but on many others who are going to be interested in coming here, building here or even buying a house here. It’s a big commitment to make to buy or build a house here or buy a berth here and you want to know that this is a long term project that will be here and the SIDF’s involvement is really important.”During the projects’ launch SIDF CEO Terrence Crossman told The Observer the Fund’s $16 US million was a “fantastic investment”and eventually people would come to realize that.