President pleased with Marriott Hotel construction

President Donald Ramotar (centre) inspecting one of the model rooms at the Marriott Hotel (GINA photo)

President Donald Ramotar says he is pleased with construction on the intended Marriott-managed hotel in Kingston which is said to be on track for opening in August.

GINA said that Ramotar on Saturday visited the Marriott Hotel construction at Kingston accompanied by Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh, and other high-ranking officials including Head of the Privatisation Unit, Winston Brassington.

Ramotar, who toured the building including some model rooms,

President Donald Ramotar (centre) inspecting one of the model rooms at the Marriott Hotel (GINA photo)
President Donald Ramotar (centre) inspecting one of the model rooms at the Marriott Hotel (GINA photo)

was impressed with the pace and quality of construction, GINA said.

“It has really set another standard for construction in our country, and we are looking forward to an early opening as possible so that we can develop our tourist industry,” he said.

GINA said that the Marriott hotel is on target for an August 2014 commissioning, and Ramotar said such infrastructure would go a very far way in advancing Guyana’s economic development, and improving the livelihood of Guyanese.

The Marriott will boast 197 rooms, a large ballroom, conference centre, casino, nightclub, restaurant, a concrete walkway and other amenities.

On completion, it will provide employment for close to 500 Guyanese, GINA said. On January 1st this year, Stabroek News reported that Brassington has not disclosed the name and other details of the US$8 million equity private investor in the hotel despite giving several undertakings to make that information public before the end of 2013.

Opposition parties in the National Assembly and other civil society actors have severely criticised the government for using public monies as part of the equity for the hotel’s construction. They have also slammed the proposals made for financing the debt aspect of the investment and the arrangements which include senior debt and syndicated loans to some of the investors.

Atlantic Hotels Inc of which Brassington is Chairman was incorporated on September 10, 2009 as a public-private partnership to engage in development of the hospitality sector, including the construction, ownership and operation of a five-star international hotel. In June 2013, Brassington in response to queries by this newspaper had said that he would be later that month releasing a statement with the investor’s details. However it was not until the latter part of September that he released a statement saying that a private investor would be contributing equity in the amount of US$8 million.

The Marriott Hotel on Saturday (GINA photo)
The Marriott Hotel on Saturday (GINA photo)

Brassington had said that the investor wanted to be comfortable that all of the remaining money would be coming in before going public. He explained that the transaction had had a number of conditions precedent, one of which was that the investor had to be approved by Marriott International.

Brassington had said that AHI had executed agreements to build the Marriott Hotel in Guyana. He said that this was done after an intense due diligence study which Republic Bank Limited in Trinidad and Marriott International had conducted. He explained that with NICIL providing just US$4 million towards the equity, the unnamed investor is the majority investor.

Brassington promised to reveal the identity of the investor once the agreement reaches financial closure, which he had said was expected before the end of 2013. Republic Bank Limited is making available US$27 million, while the operator of the hotel’s Entertainment Complex, not yet identified, will provide US$4 million, which is the expected cost to outfit the complex.

Brassington had said that NICIL is responsible for putting just under US$20 million into the project and said that in addition to the US$4 million in equity, NICIL will also be putting up US$15.5 million, or one third of the debt.

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