Published On: Tue, Aug 2nd, 2022

Just call

By Terrance Rey

Mullet Bay will be sold for the third time in its history. First, the Mullet Bay property was sold to a stately gentleman named Kamal Asultani. He always reminded me of the actor Omar Sharif. Asultani operated Mullet Bay under the Sheraton brand at the time. Mullet Bay was subsequently sold in its entirety for a second time. Then to Hushang Ansari. An investor of Iranian descent just like Asultani.

Now the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten wants to sell Mullet Bay. Banco de Caribe was previously successfully sold. The banking business was one of the gems of the ENNIA group. This sale to the immensely wealthy businessman Gregory Elias has set a precedent so that ENNIA’s largest asset can now be sold with confidence. However, the revenue will be at the most 120 million dollars. This while Mullet Bay is in the books of ENNIA with an appraised value of 400 million dollars. The insurance group will not be able to digest this astronomical loss. Mullet Bay must provide adequate coverage to meet future benefit obligations to policyholders.

With the news recently that the Central Bank wants to appoint a new board of directors of Sun Resorts, the intended directors, Mike Alexander and Geomaly Martes, will  face a major challenge. Sun Resorts is the holding company of the Mullet Bay property within the ENNIA group of companies. Sun Resorts will face the challenge of developing Mullet Bay into a flourishing resort in collaboration with a project developer and an international hotel chain.

In Curacao, Sandals just did a soft opening. According to insiders, the new resort at Barbara Beach is already fully booked until next year. A Sandals Mullet Bay, complete with casinos and golf course, is an idea for the incoming Sun Resorts executives to explore. The economic spin-offs for Sint Maarten’s economy will be enormous. Mullet Bay, as a new ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ can provide a tremendous economic boost as an economic and job center of St. Maarten and operate as a self-sustaining tourist center with thriving shops, bars and restaurants and all kinds of recreational attractions.

With the other news of the week that Sint Maarten has never been officially decolonized, it means that the island is not only facing an economic redevelopment with Mullet Bay, but also a political redevelopment. With the advice of three professors, the political leaders of the Caribbean islands in the Kingdom of the Netherlands can invite the Netherlands to sit down at the table to discuss a new political structure for the islands.

The options range from a reformed Netherlands Antilles with a modern federal structure, or a commonwealth, totally independent island clusters spread over the Windward and Leeward Islands to fully integrated municipalities of the Netherlands. There are already voices in the Netherlands to breathe new life into the initiative bill of the then Dutch Second Chamber member Andre Bosman. He wanted to make it easier for the islands to leave the Kingdom. Roelien Kamminga (Bosman’s successor) will defend the proposal in the Dutch House of Representatives.

I have said before that the COHO is DOA and that reforming the islands will be a matter of give and take. The bargaining power and diplomatic ability of politicians on the islands will be tested to the limit. On the one hand, one will have to realize that we have to be realistic that we cannot continue on the same footing. The islands, especially Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten, are practically bankrupt. On the other hand, the opportunity to fully and maximally score political points with a successful decolonization process without causing loss of face for the Netherlands.

The Netherlands would like to have a seat on the UN Human Rights Council again. The Netherlands will not want this taint of a colonizer in this regards. In the coming period, the image of the Netherlands will have to be cleaned up considerably. The political leaders of the islands face the challenge of collaborating on this with the Dutch government in a collegiate manner.

This will be badly needed for Sint Maarten because the island can expect a claim of one hundred million dollars if the government port company is later convicted in Zebec’s civil lawsuit. Where will that money come from? The Netherlands? Maybe it’s time to sell Sint Maarten by auction on eBay, they might say there in The Hague. After all, the island contains a number of shiny pearls that can make the selling price quite attractive. Namely the Harbor Group of Companies, SXM Airport, TelEm, GEBE and of course Mullet Bay. Rutte said at the time that just a phone call was enough to arrange to leave the Kingdom. I would say to Van Putten, Heyliger-Marten and Pisas: Just call!


Originally published in Dutch on DossierKoninkrijksrelaties.nl as “Bel maar“.