The US$125M Silver Sands Resort is preparing to welcome its first set of guests to the silver-white sands of the Grand Anse Beach on Saturday (December 1), according to Sales and Marketing Director Jorge Collazo.
He made the disclosure to reporters on the occasion of the official ribbon cutting ceremony last week Thursday evening for the controversial hotel.
The ceremony, which was attended by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who assisted Egyptian investor, Naguib Sawiris in cutting the bright blue ribbon to declare open the resort, which according to the Silver Sands website, presents a “radical departure from conventional Caribbean hospitality offerings with striking minimalist design by the stellar French design house AW2.”
Several government ministers and members from the local business community joined the owner at the Silver Sands ‘Grenadian Grill’ restaurant and bar, for the ribbon cutting ceremony, which came ahead of the actual completion of the property, comprising a main hotel with 43 suites and nine (9) private villas.
According to Silver Sands Public Relations Officer, Sorana Mitchell, the main hotel, along with five (5) ‘beach front villas’ have been completed, with the other four (4) ‘hill top Ocean view villas,’ still under construction.
She said it is expected that the remaining hilltop villas would be completed “by year end into early next year.”
Speaking during the ribbon cutting ceremony, Sawiris thanked Prime Minister Mitchell for the support received from government in making the hotel become a reality.
He said: “Very few politicians know what an investor looks for. He looks for someone who will honour his promises (and) deliver what he says he will deliver. I have never had more support in my whole career being as an investor in any other country like (I have) here.
“And because of that, we are going to be building two (2) more hotels on this island – both plots have already been purchased and we will start construction next year hopefully on both plots”, he added.
“By doing that we would have raised the total capacity of beds on this island by 30%,” he said, while announcing that monies made through the resort would be contributed back into the island.
“I am going to be putting the money back here. This money would never leave this island until we have doubled the whole capacity of rooms on this island, until everybody here has a decent job, has been trained and know how to get better”, the Egyptian millionaire declared.
Additionally, Sawiris sought to assure Grenadians that he is not here to disrupt their lives.
“We want to live with the people on this island, every time I walk on this beach I say hello to everybody and before I say hello they say hello to me – this is why we are here, we love the people here and anybody that tells you this is a private beach just tell them to go have a swim (because) we are not having it.
“We didn’t come here for any private beaches. We wanted to be with the people here because they are the nicest thing about this island. So please don’t listen to anybody who tells you anything (else) wrong.
According to the Egyptian multi-millionaire, he is “very well known in my country (and) I am very out spoken and because I am very outspoken, I have to be very careful and I always adhere to the rules”.
“We are law abiding people, we will never cross any law so everything you see here has been approved lawfully (and) anybody who has pointed out to us that there is anything which is wrong, we will tear it down the next day. We have no interest to violate anything,” he said.
“We are here to create happiness for everybody; for the nice people who are going to be working here and I have had the pleasure to see in the last few days they are doing a real great job.
“I think it’s one of my happiest days, I have to say that because I came to this island with no plans. I was walking on the beach (and) I tumbled into a sign that said ‘for sale’ and it was this piece of land here. My friend ‘Danny’ is the one who introduced me to Grenada so thank you ‘Danny’, you made me discover paradise here and not only paradise.
“I didn’t just fall in love with this island but actually the people who live on this island – they are so sweet, kind and friendly – and I think maybe it’s because they have not been polluted by the rest of the world. Very few people do things not just for the money…it’s easy to do things for the money…but I did this here because I fell in love with this island and its people”.
Prime Minister Mitchell, who also addressed the gathering, urged Grenadians to be careful with their words and actions because “sometimes, the way we treat people, the way we react to people sends a powerful message”.
“And therefore, if he (Sawiris) had come here… and not got the sense of peace and calm and love that he saw, they would not be standing here today.”
This is a clear reference to the attacks levelled against the Silver Sands by locals who expressed concerns whether it was being built in keeping with an Environment Impact assessment (EIA) study and violations of the rights of neighbouring properties.
The Prime Minister expressed support for the Egyptian and his hotel project.
“…I cannot see any Grenadian, Carriacounian or Petite Martiniquan doing or saying anything against someone who has come here (and) put down some serious investment promoting this country’s image and will do anything to malign that individual. That means we do not like ourselves. I must say this sisters and brothers, I must say it,” he said amidst a round of applause.
“Naguib Siwiris could (have) put this money in any other part of the world. This cannot be a place of profiteering for him, if you understand who he is but he is here because he loves this place, he loves the people he has met and therefore we are very proud that you have chosen us as a place to invest. So I want us sisters and brothers, no matter what our biases are, put it aside. This is not about our personal friendships or interests, it’s about Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
“Put down love sisters and brothers, drop the hate and the spite (and) love our country,” PM Mitchell declared before turning to Naguib to shake his hand saying: “My brother I am happy to have you.”
The new Silver Sands hotel is regarded as the largest investment on the island in the last three (3) years.”
It is understood that 210 persons are on the Silver Sands payroll, who according to the public relations officer, had previously received the required training in the various departments to ensure the success of operations.