Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has confirmed that an agreement will shortly be signed to bring to bring a Four Seasons Resort to Belize with Arab funding. Speaking in a radio broadcast interview today Mr. Barrow said that his government has given the go ahead for the Qatar Sovereign Fund to take over the small island of Caye Chapel off the coast of Belize City and establish Belize’s first 5 star luxury hotel. “We have given the go ahead. Negotiations are all but finalized and the details of the investment are being worked on between the Qatar Sovereign Fund and the Belize Bank Limited, who have the island on their foreclosed properties portfolio,” said Mr. Barrow. The Prime Minister added that the developers will make an investment of US $125. million and bring much needed jobs to the area.
Caye Chapel is a low lying island covering 250 acres 12 miles off Belize City. It measures 2.1 miles in length and is one half mile wide. The island has had a variety of developments over the years having been through a number of owners. Its main features include its own airstrip, a clubhouse, 8 beachfront villas and an 18 hole golf course, the only one in Belize. The golf course was designed by Patrick Horvat from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Caye Chapel’s last listing for sale on Belize real estate web sites was for U.S. $75 million. When operational the island was offered for exclusive weekly rental of U.S. $110,000.
U.S. investor Bill Gates is an owner of the Four Seasons Hotels Inc. along with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Gates has visited Belize twice according to published news reports, ostensibly on holiday. His most recent visit to Belize was on 10 April 2012 aboard the yacht Attessa IV.
Responding to questions as to Belize’s investment climate, Mr. Barrow said that investments in Belize had dried up following his government’s expropriation of the privately held telephone and electricity companies last year. But his government has been successful in reassuring foreign investors that these were extraordinary developments and that the Belize government has no further plans in this direction. This new investment he said is a sign that investor confidence in Belize has been restored. Mr. Barrow’s government is currently engaged in another major investment. This by U.S. based American Sugar Refining Inc. to take over Belize’s only sugar mill – the Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. at Tower Hill in the Orange Walk district.