On the sea: Base Village in the Caribbean? | AspenTimes.com

On the sea: Base Village in the Caribbean?

CARIBBEAN – Ten days sailing in the Caribbean off the Turks and Caicos should take your mind off the harsh economic realities of the world.

And my recent trip on my friends’ catamaran did just that – until we ran into the Caribbean’s version of Snowmass’ Base Village.

We headed on a short jaunt across the Atlantic Ocean to West Caicos, an uninhabited piece of land about 40 miles west of Turks and Caicos. Our plan was to anchor off the island, skin dive around the 7,000-foot deep seawall and possibly explore the 11-mile island.

As we approached the shoreline, which was surrounded by hundreds of miles of the bluest aqua water I’ve ever seen, a line of massive buildings came into view about 10 miles out. As we sailed closer, we were confronted with a massive, unfinished hotel development that had been abandoned.

It was so big and so offensive that we wondered who in the hell thought that building such a monstrosity in the middle of nowhere was a good idea. After we anchored and stared at the development for a day, my friend turned to me and said “Did they think the whole world was going to come?” We wondered who was behind such a boondoggle.

It wasn’t until I got back to my computer and was able to Google it that I learned that the Ritz Carlton was the big bad developer. Their plan was to build an exclusive 125-room resort, spa and marina. The anticipated opening was to be mid-2008. However, due to the collapse of Lehmann Brothers, the financiers of the project, all construction work was halted in September 2008.

The kicker to the story is that the developers brought in Chinese laborers to build the resort and after not getting paid for months, they took the contractors hostage in October. The bosses were eventually freed after the workers received payment.

Perhaps that gorilla tactic is something to consider by the subcontractors waiting to get paid for their work on Base Village. On second thought, we live in a civilized country called the United States of America where that type of aggression is not part of our ethos.


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