Today’s Editorial: (Pelican Resort) Not that simple

POSTED: 02/14/11 5:38 PM

As a new week dawns and we all prepare to greet each other with Bon Dia and Bon Siman (Good day and Good week), the stakeholders in what is now known as Simpson Bay Resort and Marina and The Villas at Simpson Bay Resort and Marina are waking to another week of difficulty and lack of clarity.
For the workers it was as simple as we have Collective Labor Agreement that says we have permanent employment with certain benefits and the court has said the new owners are bound by that. For many of them it was time for the management to talk about returning to work. But it’s not that simple.
For the new owner it’s as simple as stating that they don’t have the resources to take on the entire pool of employees at this time and some will have to go. When the court did not rule in their favor they simply announced they’d close the time share property. But it’s not that simple.
In fact when one considers all the issues and positions, what’s happened at the former Pelican Resort is anything but simple. The numbers in terms of the economic contribution also don’t lie and make the issue all the more complicated, because they show the damage that can be done if a solution is not found. Or if flipped around they show that we simply cannot afford for the property to close.
One thing we do believe is simple and very obvious is that parties, all of them, need to sit at the table and the prime minister has embraced that by calling parties from the public and private sector to a meeting today. Let’s hope everyone attends, egos are put aside and all interests are served, because the simple task of government is secure investment, create employment and reap the benefits to take care of those who need.

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Comments (8)


  1. Judy Jakovac says:

    Dear Editor,

    I have been vacationing in SXM at the Pelican Resort now “Simpson Bay Resort & Marina” for the past 15 years, staying for a month long vacation. I have developed many friendships that turned into extended family away from home while on your Beautiful Island.
    The workers at the Pelican are “MY FAMILY”. They take care of me and my family while we are visiting. It is at the same time each year that we look forward to “Our Family Reunion”. The people are what make my vacation so very special.
    Now, we are being locked out of our unit? Our plane reservations have been made for many many months, our fees paid to the Pelican and now…they are locking us out? Many dollars spent that I will be losing.
    I am saddened and so upset with this decision. How could Mr. Corso and Mr. Sutton do this to the timeshare owners? They have ruined vacation for all of us, that we were so looking forward to. This will ruin the tourist business to this beautiful island. Without work, what will all the residents on the island do? This is a tragic situation for all.
    Please step in to help all of us.
    I appreciate your time and thank you for listening to me.

    Judy Jakovac

  2. jim says:

    now that sint maarten has gained indepedence it would be seem to be an opertune time to craft legislation to protect the loyal union workers and faithful timeshare lease holders.
    before a property is sold either at auction or outright
    a surety bond should be posted by the prospective purchaser to cover workers salaries.
    timeshare owners:
    no asessments could occur for at least five years. so as owners don’t get stuck paying for the purchase.
    owners should collectively have first right of refusal.

  3. Don says:

    It is my belief that both Sutton,and Corso have engineered this entire situation. They caused the resort to go bankrupt by refusing to pay the bills that were owed essentially to them. They then purchased the resort for ten cents on the dollar(paying 30 million for a resort valued at 300million). They will make 100′s of millions of dollars whether the resort is open or if it is sold to someone else. The only thing they care about is making money! The government needs to step in,void out the auction,return ownership to the original owners,and ban Sutton/Corso,and any of thier shell companies from the island due to shady business dealings.

  4. cd says:

    It is unfortunate for St. Maarten, an island that has come to rely so much on timeshare members, that in dealing with the myriad of issues surrounding the Pelican debacle, a few very important truths have been lost including the knowledge, history and track record of Richard Sutton. I am afraid that in the process, St. Maarten has lost Richard Sutton himself and that is unfortunate.

    Over the past 30 years Richard Sutton developed some of the most successful timeshare resorts in the industry under the brand, Royal Resorts. Under Richard Sutton’s management and direction, Royal Resorts has grown to be a leader in the timeshare industry and employs tens of thousands of people in southern Mexico in order to cater to over eighty thousand members and their families. The quality of construction of the Royal Resorts properties and most importantly the management and maintenance of those properties is a fact that cannot be disputed by anyone anywhere. The service provided by the Royal Resorts to its members is one of the best in the timeshare industry and has been independently recognized and praised year after year. The reputation enjoyed by Royal Resorts under the leadership of Richard Sutton is stellar and that is an undisputable fact.

    Many of us became involved with Pelican only because of the track record of Richard Sutton and Royal Resorts. I understand that a small but loud group in St. Maarten made up of a few members and locals have promoted the idea that Richard Sutton and Royal Resorts are part of an evil empire with a plan to take advantage of members and employees at the Pelican but the facts speak for themselves. Richard Sutton has the experience, the reputation and track record to make the Pelican one of the top timeshare resorts in the world. There are some of us that would like to see Richard Sutton and his experience used for the benefit of the Pelican, its members and its employees. We are not interested in wasting our lives and valuable vacation time fighting against someone who knows far more than any member or employee at Pelican about how to successfully develop and operate a timeshare property. We are only interested in getting the most enjoyment out of our vacations in St. Maarten and that is the reason we bought a timeshare here.

    It is important that everyone realizes that we are over 12,000 members at the Pelican but that only 800 or 900 members vote for the election of the board (TAPRC) who in turn has made all the decisions that have led to us to where we are today. Instead of the board embracing the ideas and learning from the wealth of knowledge that Richard Sutton and Royal Resorts brought to the table, they chose to question and disregard. Now ask yourselves, how many current or past members of TARPC, how many Pelican members, how many Pelican staff have successfully developed and operated a timeshare resort? The answer is zero. Also ask yourselves, how does venting on the internet, making false accusations, screaming on the street and writing irresponsible comments on every available forum help the resort to reopen or its employees to get their jobs bask? It does not. The only thing that will make that resort reopen and make sure the employees enjoy full time employment for years to come is a sound operating plan.

    In my humble opinion, if we really want to resolve the issues at the Pelican, if we really want to see the property well maintained, if we really want to see the employees prosper, if we really want to see services improved, then all of us members, the board and the employees should put their egos away and let’s look to Richard Sutton for solutions because he is the only person among us who really knows how to successfully operate a timeshare resort.

    CD – Member Royal Resorts and Simpson Bay Resort

    • KC-30 year Pelican 'member' says:

      CD’s letter is the first I have seen that states the truth.
      In the 10 years Royal has run the resort, they have done a great job with limited resources. We have too many chronic malcontents among us owners who think they know what is going on when in reality, they haven’t a clue.
      Our best hope is to stick with Resorts and believe they can resolve the complex current issues. If they cannot, who in the world will? Certainly not the TAPRC.

      • Dave in DC says:

        If you are an owner who is siding with RR and think they are telling the truth then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

        RR owns all of their properties in Mexico. When you OWN a property of course you take care of it. But they didn’t own Pelican until they used fraud to take possesion of it. So they had minimal interest in doing anything but collecting money from us.

        Now that they own it they claim they had no idea it would cost this much to run it. How do you run a resort for 13 years, with money hidden in banks in Belize where only you have access to it, and suddenly have no clue it would be so expensive to run the place so you have to close it?

        If you have some great insight as to why RR did what they did and that it was somehow too our benefit or with our best interests in mind as owners please share. Otherwise all I can see is two crooks who have taken 60 million in equity from us.

        And if you think that is good management let me take a crack at running your property and finances and when you have nothing left be sure to smile and tell everyone it was for your own good and I am a great man for doing you a favor.

    • Alexander Reyes says:

      Property manager from NYC looking to relocate business to st Martin . Willing to solve this problem 40 years experience

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