Bywarren is right. Fountain Blue was a project designed from Day 1 to rip off the Belizean people. A businessmen (who happened to be the Belize Ambassador to Lebanon and is orignally Lebanese) got together with the Government of Belize in a cozy little pact.
He bought the land where Fountain Blue is located for $330,000US (later him and his buddies claimed that it cost 2.5 this amount)
The hotel cost about US1.5 million to build.....perhaps less. Even at this price the cost per square foot for such awful construction is too high.
The amount "borrowed" from DFC/Belize Social Security (ie. the Belizean people) was 4.5 million US! In other words, almost 3 million US was unaccounted for.
For the Grand Opening the PM, minister of finance and a bunch of other government high rankers were invited. The opening speech by the "owner" included remarks that the whole project cost US5.5 million/11 million Belize. This would have made the price per square foot of building about $600.00US!! Typical cost for first rate construction on Ambergris Caye is about $65-90US per square foot, and this place was built CHEAP.
The government even granted the owner(s) a Duty Free Concession. It is STRONGLY rumoured that the missing US3 million was used to import hardware stock for the owner's hardware stores...of course, all duty free.This was then sold to the people of San Pedro at the usual inflated prices we pay for this kind of stuff. But, no matter what happened to the missing US3 million, it is certain that it was not used on the hotel construction.
The original owner (Simon of San Pedro Hardware) handed over the paperwork of the hotel to his cousin/brother (Mike of San Pedro Supermarket) a little while ago.
As soon as THAT transaction was legal the bombshell was dropped......Mike (ie. all involved) couldn't make the payments.
So, DFC/Social Security/Goverment of Belize was in debt 3 million US dollars. But, of course, it was designed this way from the start. Fountain Blue was never meant to be anything but a moneymaking scam for the owners and involved individuals in the Government and Social Security of Belize.
It's not over yet. Rumour has it that a favoured government of Belize minister will likely obtain Fountain Blue at a knockdown price at auction....it'll be fixed that way. I've heard Fonseca or someone in a similar position will be the "lucky" bargain hunter.
[This message has been edited by truebelize (edited 02-02-2002).]