Last week the Compass was relieved to learn that legal proceedings between the current and former owners of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman had been resolved.
The confidential settlement signals – if not an amicable resolution – at least an end to overt hostilities between Michael Ryan, who built the Ritz, and Five Mile Capital Partners, who bought it in October 2012.
Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree, pack up your briefcases and go to the beach.
Though the allegations flung about in court were serious, and at times may have even seemed personal in nature, ultimately this was not a particularly unusual type of transaction in the hospitality sector.
With the parties apparently satisfied and loose ends wrapped up, the Ritz continues to perform admirably and gain accolades, such as General Manager Marc Langevin being named the top general manager last year for all Ritz and Marriott properties in the Caribbean and Latin America.
From a broader perspective, just as Ben Torchinsky’s Grand Cayman Hyatt Britannia Resort set the standard for a luxury resort in this country, Mr. Ryan’s Ritz-Carlton prepared the local market for the Dart Group’s upcoming Kimpton hotel.
The future of stayover tourism in Cayman appears bright, so let’s focus on looking ahead rather than continuing to twaddle on about the $6 million in debt to government that the sale wiped off the books, or hypothetical opportunities to collect more stamp duty from the transaction.
It is a lot of money. But it is a pittance compared to the positive economic impact the Ritz has had on this country.
The government should not balk at discussing proposals of incentives, including tax breaks, in order to attract permanent developments (large and small) and other substantial investments in this country that may not otherwise occur, as long as the conditions are explicit and make economic sense for Cayman.