Sandals Resorts Officials Deny Grenada Private Island Plan
Photo: SRI’s Sandals La Source Grenada resort opened in 2014. (Photo by Brian Major).
It’s safe to assume Sandals Resorts International (SRI) won’t be launching any “private island” experiences at its Caribbean resorts any time soon. Company officials last week issued a statement categorically denying any interest in developing a private island off the coast of Grenada.
The SRI action came after a Grenada lawyer released a statement last week that SRI officials said included “comments to the contrary” of its intentions in Grenada. SRI last year opened the Sandals La Source Grenada resort on a 17-acre site overlooking the island’s Pink Gin Beach.
The comments by the lawyer, Anslem Couden, followed court proceedings brought by Sandals on laws relating to beach access. “At no time since entering Grenada has SRI sought to operate a private beach, which happens to be against the laws of Grenada, and was never involved in any court proceedings on this matter,” said company officials in a statement.
“Comments to the contrary were made by a local lawyer who has since been ordered by the High Court of Grenada to retract his statement,” SRI added.
Clouden was indeed ordered by a Grenada judge to withdraw his statement, which was reported in local press. “l wish to take this opportunity of unreservedly withdrawing the statements in the said press release and all imputations against Sandals and to express my sincere regret for having made such a statement,” said Clouden in a report on the CaribbeanNewsNow website.
The report said SRI officials consider private islands counter to company policy. SRI “[does] not own or wish to operate a private beach,” in any of the nine Caribbean destinations in which the company operates resorts. SRI officials “further acknowledged the possibility of xenophobia” developing in countries where citizens were barred from beaches on which tourists were permitted.
As some stakeholders had predicted, SRI’s arrival in Grenada coincides with increased tourist arrivals. Grenada’s overnight land-based visitors totaled 133,521 arrivals in 2014, an 18.4 percent increase over 2013.
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