Grammy-winning singing sensation, Rihanna, just landed herself a prime piece of property on the West Coast compliments of the Government and people of Barbados. The announcement was made last night by the new Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson, at an open-air concert in Independence Square, Bridgetown, Barbados to honor the singer for her recent Grammy win for her hit song “Umbrella.” Thousands of Bajans turned out to welcome the singer home and to witness her being designated as a Youth and Cultural Ambassador of Barbados. To seal the appreciation of the people of Barbados for her success in putting the tiny 166 sq. mile island on the music and cultural map the government gave her a piece of land in the 5-star golf and polo resort under development at Apes Hill in St. James overlooking the west coast.
Rihanna joins a growing list of rich and famous people including England Cricket Captain, Michael Vaughan, who have already purchased properties at the prestigious resort. The 470 acres US $1 billion resort boasts an 18-hole Pete Dye/Greg Norman golf course (under construction), a polo field (completed) - home of the Apes Hill Polo Club at Waterhall, St. James, and plans for 200 villas, 150 townhouses and a 5-star hotel and spa. Rihanna will also have access to the resort’s recently opened beach club a few miles north of the property at Speightstown in St. Peter. Needless to say, the owners of the Apes Hill Club will be hoping to cash in on Rihanna’s celebrity to sell the resort and are singing along with her - “When the sun shines, we’ll shine together - Told you I'll be here forever - You can stand under my umbrella-ella-ella...”
The Mullins Bay area is no stranger to celebrity ever since “guesthouses” began popping up in the 1940s and ‘50s. These guests still prefer the beachfront guesthouses (now more commonly referred to as villas) for their accommodation with some like the Great House and Sandolo commanding rates north of US $10 K per night. One of them on Gibbes Bay put on a huge fireworks display rivaling New Years after sunset one evening earlier this month. Without a doubt celebrity-spotting in the area will get a big boost with the advent of the beach clubs associated with the luxury inland developments on former sugar plantations like Westmoreland, Apes Hill and Black Bess.
Currently in the area is former England Cricket Captain/batsman, Allan Lamb. He is staying at the Great House and this blogger had a chance yesterday to meet him briefly. Firstly, Allan is still in great physical shape for a 54-year old who used to give Andy Roberts and Joel Garner a lot of trouble way back in the late 1970s. He is a strong swimmer who had to be cautioned not to swim so far out into the ocean from the shoreline as the beach is unguarded. He is bursting with condemnation of ICC for forcing all of the small islands to build brand new cricket stadia - now “white elephants” - in order to host Cricket World Cup 2007 which may have contributed to the subsequent downfall of several governments in the region including only last month the one in Barbados. He has a great sports tourism business centered in Grenada because as he puts it: “…everybody goes to Barbados.” Welcome to Mullins Bay and Barbados Allan Lamb! Oh, did we mention that he was also scathing in his criticism of Barbados for not making the paltry 5 runs to beat Trinidad for a spot in the 20/20 final?