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IPO of the Day: A Plan to Crown the Queen

September 16, 2010

The small island of Saba in the Netherlands Antilles rises bright green above the blue water of the Caribbean Sea. Saba is known as the unspoiled queen of the Caribbean for remaining relatively unscathed by Western tourism. Indeed, as one travel writer explains, natives of Saba “do not want to see their island turn into a commercial enterprise . . .and they have no plans on the drawing board for more hotels or other development. . .  They love the fact their island is basically unknown in the Caribbean chain, and the low tourism numbers keep the island in pristine shape.”

This is Saba’s primary appeal: not its beaches or its luxury resorts  (it effectively has neither) but its untrammeled nature. Saba’s tourist industry is geared toward ecotourists, who come to snorkel in its clear waters and hike up its lush volcanic peak, 2,877-foot Mount Scenery. Here is how one writer describes the culmination of a hike up the mountain: “At the summit is an undisturbed and beautiful elfin forest of large mountain mahogany trees, their trunks and branches often covered in mosses, bromeliads and ferns. As for wildlife, you’re sure to see colourful butterflies and birds as you climb, among them hummingbirds, bananaquits and tremblers if you’re lucky, and you may spot a harmless racer snake slithering through the undergrowth.”

Why are we writing about this tropical oasis on blogmosaic? Because of an S-1 filed today by a shell company called Island Radio, Inc.  Two Virginia-based entrepreneurs hope to raise $25,000 through this initial public offering to finance their dream of starting a Caribbean radio station. The business plan, according to the filing, includes the construction of a 1,500 watt radio tower on – where else? — the summit of Mount Scenery.

Island Radio has not actually applied yet for the license to build the tower; presumably, they are waiting to see how much cash they can raise with their IPO.  But one might speculate their plans will be complicated by more than just the availability of funds.  For starters, the ecotourist industry and the Saba Conservation Foundation may be none too pleased about the prospect of their unspoiled queen being crowned by a giant antenna.

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