Movietowne eyes St. Lucia and Jamaica for expansion

MovieTowne chairman and founder Derek Chin

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — MovieTowne chairman and founder Derek Chin is eyeing St. Lucia and Jamaica as the next territories for his multi-million dollar cineplex.

MovieTowne’s first cineplex outside of Trinidad and Tobago was in Guyana and is said to be the most significant private sector investment in the South American country.

The Guyana facility is set to open between November and December this year, Chin said on Monday.

“The brand and MovieTowne and what we have done with it in the last 15 years has really created a brand that many countries are interested in us coming. Offers of land or concessions to come and invest in their island or country is something I am working with,” he said.

He revealed that St. Vincent, Antigua, St. Lucia and Jamaica have already invited the company to enter their market.

“I’m looking at St. Lucia after Guyana and then I will like to tackle Jamaica. And of course if something happens in North America we’ll try a shot there too,” he told reporters during a Republic Bank trade mission, held on Monday at the Radisson Hotel.

“I’ve had business investments in Toronto, Canada, where I’m also looking to open the first MovieTowne in that part of the world,” Chin revealed.

Chin said construction of MovieTowne Guyana was close to completion.

The US$45 million cineplex is located at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.

“I know the Guyanese are very excited for the announcement of the (opening) date so they can start to partake in what we have done with the Trinidad, in terms of improving the entertainment landscape,” Chin stated.

On the setbacks which resulted in delays in finishing MovieTowne Guyana, Chin noted:

“Like everything else, dealing with costs…in terms of resources to go into a new country; dealing the culture, politics; dealing with the anti-Trinidad sentiments where people feel we’re coming in there just to take over. We had to do a little PR (public relations) to say we are coming to add and augment what Guyana has to offer, especially with their discovery of oil.”

Chin said MovieTowne did not enter Guyana with the intention of “being a massive money-making investment”.

“Of course we will like to believe it will be profitable, of course the oil finds and the improvement in the lives of Guyanese and the fact there will also be an increase in their disposable income helps us. But as a result of what we have done here in Trinidad, and of course we have changed the landscape of entertainment, the brand is well-known throughout the region,” the businessman said.

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