It’s been awhile since we updated you on what’s happening over at Caneel Bay, so we figured we would share the latest with you today. For those of you short on time today, the quick answer is that nothing is happening. For those of you who have a few more minutes to spare today, here is the nitty gritty.
Ok, so as you know, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett introduced a Bill in late 2016 which asked Congress to give the operators of Caneel Bay – CBI Acquisitions, a private equity firm out of Connecticut – a 60-year retained use estate agreement. That Bill passed the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands in early 2017. It was introduced to the full House on December 21st, but it was never acted on. When the 115th Congressional Session ended, the Bill was officially dead.
So what’s that mean? Well it means we are back to square one.
As of this morning, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett has not reintroduced the Bill to the new Congress and it is unclear whether she plans to. I reached out to Plaskett via her website over the weekend asking that very question, but have yet to hear back. Another person inquired via her Facebook page on January 5, but that question has been left unanswered as well.
So does this mean that CBI’s hands are tied? Absolutely not. They still have three years remaining on their current agreement. And when that expires, a 40-year lease kicks in. So essentially, they have at least 43 more years where they can successfully operate Caneel Bay. They are just choosing not to.
I was able to see the property up close recently, and it is truly a sad sight. Absolutely nothing has been touched. There is still furniture in the destroyed beachfront rooms, and nearly the entire property is overgrown. I understand that it is a large property and there were very few staff on site before Irma hit, but it appears that very little was done to prevent damage. For example, a very expensive Micros system – the system servers use at restaurants – was left sitting out and remains there today. Only one window that I saw had blue tape criss-crossed on it; none were boarded up.
For those of you as interested in this as I am, you can routinely check to see if a new Bill is introduced by visiting www.congress.gov. Once you are there, click on the “Introduced” button on the right. There you can see every Bill that has been introduced in Congress. You can also search by topic or the sponsor.
When you type “Caneel” into the search box, you can see Plaskett’s failed Bill, plus former Congresswoman Donna Christensen’s passed Bill which became Law, giving CBI the additional 40-year lease. You can also see a failed Bill by Christensen which sought to give the the 40-year lease during the prior session. Check out a screenshot:
So we’re curious, now that we’re back to square one, what would you like to see happen at Caneel? Please answer by taking this poll.