Christopher Anand, managing partner for Tavistock.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 20, 2008 – Officials in Jamaica are waiting to see if a major tourism development planned for the island will be affected following the news that one of the men involved in the initiative will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in the recent buyout of United States investment bank, Bear Stearns by competitor JPMorgan Chase and Company.

The Harmony Cove project planned for over 1,000 hotel rooms, 11 manor homes on five-acre lots, 88 villas, and 60 condominiums in a luxury tourism resort in the parish of Trelawny. Government partnered with the Florida-based Tavistock Group on the project.

But reports out of the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) have indicated that British-born currency trader, Joe Lewis who is the principal shareholder in the Group was estimated to lose over US$1 billion in his investment in Bear Stearns, the fifth-biggest investment bank in the US.

The Harmony Cove project which was announced since 2004 was expected to take 10 years to complete at a cost of US$2 billion.

According to the reports, the multi-billionaire in the last six months bought enough stock to become the firm’s largest shareholder, with a nine per cent stake by year-end.

US regulatory filings indicated that he paid more than US$100 each for the majority of his 12.14 million shares. JP Morgan has struck a deal to buy Bear Stears for a basement price of $339 million, or US$2.32 a share.

However, Bloomberg has reported that the 71-year-old investor may push the bank to consider alternatives to the JPMorgan buyout.

It reported Lewis as saying he would take "whatever action" he thought necessary to protect his investment.

"I think it’s a derisory offer and I don’t think they will get it," CNBC quoted Lewis as saying about the JPMorgan bid announced on March 16.

Business: News in the Caribbean – Caribbean360.com


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