Mata Chica changes hands

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 21            May 25, 2006

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New owner Daniel Lighter, a defense attorney from Montreal Canada, purchased the property last week. He says, “I just fell in love with this place.”

Nadia and Phillipe Tarrico recently announced that they have sold their Mata Chica Beach Resort, one of the premier resorts on Ambergris Caye. Daniel Lighter, a defense attorney from Montreal Canada, purchased the property last week. “I just fell in love with this place,” Lighter told The San Pedro Sun.

   Nadia will help with the transition of the property for up to a year. They plan to spend more time at their home in Mexico. “I’m selling a diamond,” said Nadia. “Now it will get a little more polishing,” she added.

   Lighter plans to continue his law practice in Canada, limiting his caseload to a few major cases each year. He plans to reside at Mata Chica ten days a month. As a result, he will rely on the quality veteran staff. “There is a sense of family among the staff, anyone that came and broke that up would be a fool. So, if anything I will be adding staff for bettering service. I have no intention to cut back or scale back,” said Lighter. Grisell and Lori will continue as managers for the resort.

   Lighter said he is experiencing a love affair with Belize, and especially Mata Chica. His first time to San Pedro was New Year’s Day. He quickly returned in February with the intention of buying property. He stayed at Mata Chica and met Nadia and Phillip. They have quickly become good friends and shared many stories about the conception and growth of Mata Chica. Lighter equated his pursuit to purchase Mata Chica as a love affair, and that in order to advance, needed the blessing of the “parents.”

   Lighter also purchased six acres of land adjacent to Mata Chica but does not plan to develop it in the near future. For the short term, he plans to “polish” the existing resort with the possibility of adding some casitas.

   Lighter stressed that his plan is to target the high-end niche of the tourism industry. “The travel industry now has moved the marker up, so you have to keep up with that mark. There is a certain niche that is willing to pay that little bit more, as long as you deliver that little bit extra.”

   The Belizean people was one of the major reasons Lighter said he fell in love with this country. “There are a lot of wonderful beaches and places to visit in the Caribbean, but I was struck by the character of the people. They are genuine. I find the people to be at peace with their lives here and their work here. The people are clearly proud to be Belizean. They seem intelligent and educated. I just connected with it.”
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