Chairman of Fouraime Enterprises Ltd, John Aboud, center, and Director of CDA Robert Cezair, second from left, cut the ribbon to the opening of Five Islands Water and Amusement Park while looking on from, left, Director Richard Smith and Anthony Rahael in Chaguaramas yesterday.

Carisa Lee

After over five years of construction, the Five Islands Water and Amusement Park officially turned on its pumps and opened its doors yesterday.

It’s a project that cost Chairman of Fouraime Enterprises John Aboud and his partners $500 million and a monthly rental fee to the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) of $417,000.

“We underestimated the seriousness and gravity of the construction, most of it is underground,” Aboud said.

“Happily it’s now over,” he added.

Aboud said they are in talks with the CDA for a new rental fee now that the facility is opened.

But some of that money went back into the economy. Aboud said throughout the almost six years only local employees were hired and now that the water park is operational 400 local people will be permanently hired.

“One of the successes of the project is that you are making a very fundamental contribution to the country,” he said.

In his speech, the businessman said the dream for the water park started in 2014 when the CDA put out a request for information or a request for a proposal that was accepted in April of that year.

“This water park and our purpose here this morning is a combination of blood, sweat, and tears,” he said.

Wearing an ‘I love water parks hat’, Aboud said the Five Islands design done by an architectural and structural firm from Texas can be compared to any water park in the world. It’s for that reason and its location he sees the multimillion-dollar park as a tourist attraction for the Caribbean and even the world.

“This is a tourism project,” he said.

“There is nothing like this north and south of us except for The Bahamas,” he continued.

Aboud said he plans to create a package for regional and international tourists using the water park and the hotel formally known as the Carlton Savannah now called The BRIX. The hotel is scheduled to open in March of next year.

“When our customers come the experience must start from our carpark and hopeful after discussion with the CDA the experience must start when they pass Alcoa,” he said.

Yesterday’s opening was originally scheduled for March but because of COVID-19 restrictions, the date was pushed back. However, in those three months the facility was adjusted to limit the spread of the virus.

Handwashing and sanitizing stations and thermal cameras costing $110,000 each were installed.

According to Aboud, the water has three times the amount of chlorine to kill COVID-19 with an ultraviolet water system that kills bacteria and a highly sensitive filtration system.

The park was built on a 25 acres property.

The amusement section was opened in 2017 but closed because of COVID-19. The arcade will remain closed.

The park will open during the July-August school vacation period and on weekends and holidays. Every attraction at the park was locally named.