Owning a Caribbean private island is usually a privilege only a few people can experience. However, two friends, Gareth Johnson and Marshall Mayer, withdrew money from a public fundraiser and bought an uninhabited island in the Caribbean. They, however, do not want to enjoy the peace of it. They plan to establish their own country, open it to the public and turn it into a tourist attraction.
How two friends bought Caribbean Private Island
Two friends began implementing their plan in 2018 when they founded Let’s Buy an Island. Using a public fundraiser, they wanted to raise enough money to buy an island off the coast of Belize. “Who wouldn’t want to buy an island?” Mayer asks eloquently. “I don’t know about you, but I definitely couldn’t afford it myself,” he added to CNN.
Both men were lucky in their project. In December 2019, they raised enough funds, over $ 250,000, to buy an uninhabited island of Coffee Caye of about 4850 square meters. However, investors did not only buy part of the property somewhere in Belize. They also became part of an unusual project to establish the nation of Iceland, which will not lack its national flag, anthem, or government.
“Whoever dreamed of founding their own country?” Johnson asks. “Especially in a world where we’ve experienced Trump, Brexit, and Covid,” the man said.
Ireland and Malaysia were at stake
At the beginning of 2022, both men on the private island began to organize tours for other investors and the first tourists. “The feeling of entering and owning an island you’ve invested in is amazing,” says Mayer.
At first, both men had some doubts about realizing their dream. “When Gareth first told me about this idea, I thought we would never make it a reality. But he started explaining to me how much such an island could cost. We realized that there were parts of the world where buying an island was more realistic than I ever thought,” Mayer recalls.
Then it was enough to search for where the dream country could be thorough. The Icelandic micro-nation could be in the Philippines, Malaysia, Ireland, Panama, or Belize, where it will eventually emerge.
For Johnson, founding a micro-nation is an act of escapism and experimentation in form of this small private island. For Mayer, it is a marketing tool. So far, they have sold about a hundred shares, and investors come from 25 countries. “People jumped at the idea. We don’t know yet what we’ll do next because we didn’t think we’d make it that far, “says Mayer.
However, the micro-nation should become a tourist attraction like other similar communities in the future. For example, Christianity in Copenhagen, Seborg in Italy, or Uzupis in Vilnius is just a reminder.