Focus Panama Vol 32 #02--"Developers with a Conscience"
When a group of developersdecided to acquire 1,700 acreson the island of Bastimentos in theCaribbean province of Bocas delToro, they realised that such a largeproject within a small and unsophisti-cated community, partly indigenous,carried a special responsibility forsocial conscience.As soon as the earth-movingmachinery landed at the project,called Red Frog Beach they startedthe Red Frog Foundation, an entitynot just to counter the effects of theirimpact on the locality, but to betterthe lives of the inhabitants ofBastimentos and the other islands inthe maritime province.Red Frog Beach has been hugelysuccessful. By the second half of2006 over 275 units had been sold, 35homes had been built and a workforceof 1,500 and growing fast were busyas plans for a 119 berth marina andchampionship Arnold Palmer golfcourse were being finalized, swampareas were being filled and a logisticsarea was completed with housing for250 employees.The dynamic team of Red FrogBeach is creating a truly impressiveresidential paradise along its threemile beach and even more miles ofcliffs and rocky foreshore. Villascome with a pool, and central air con-ditioning. There is a choice of tenmodels and further customization isoffered. Villa pricing currentlyranges from the low $190s to over$500. Lots start in the low $100s.Condos are also available starting inthe low $270s.Other amenities planned for RedFrog are a rainforest canopy tour andthe usual facilities like spas, restau-rants, and tennis club. Apropertymanagement service is also offered.Along with this growth, the RedFrog Foundation also thrives, andtowards the end of 2006 was well onthe way to realizing it donation goalof $500,000 for the year. The founda-tion is planning new water systemsfor the town of Bastimentos. The lackof clean safe drinking water has beenresponsible for many intestinal illnessand skin disorders in the past.Adonation of $40,000 boughtmedical supplies for the local hospi-tal. Computers have been donated tothe hospital and to schools. Boattrasnportation is being provided forthe indigenous population of BahíaHonda so that their children canattend high school in Bocas.Donations for cultural events includ-ed the sponsorship of a Dutch balletteacher for six months. She says theself esteem of her young pupils isskyrocketing and hopes someone willtake over the program when sheleaves.The foundation's director Mr.Aaron Jones a psychotherapist andsocial worker says: "I have lived andworked in many Latin American com-munities and have learned the impor-tance of listening, respect and humili-ty in shaping our relationships. Iknow that equally powerful is theforce of the community."