Norton says gov’t in the dark on $20b golf project

-does not endorse multi-billion golf venture

Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for sport, Dr. George Norton.

Minister of Social Cohesion with Responsibility for Sport, Dr. George Norton has made it clear that he and by extension, the government, does not endorse the multi-billion ‘Jack Nicklaus’ lifestyle community project because his administration is in the dark on the project.

When asked about his endorsement of the $20 billion venture which includes an 18-hole golf course, Norton said: “I must correct you, Sir, I did not endorse the project, I made an announcement.”

He then added: “No minister did endorse that because we weren’t involved… I don’t think there was any other commitment by my government with regards to that.”

Guyana Tourism Authority head, Mitra Ramkumar (extreme left) looks on as Roddy Carr (center) and Aleem Hussain (right) sign the $20b deal.

Dr. Norton was stern in his address, affirming his concerns over the project.

“We [the government] are concerned because we talking about 500 acres of prime real estate, 100 million US dollars supposed to be raised to a project that involves schools, houses, facilities that the government knows nothing about, we are concerned,” he declared.

The multi-billion dollar investment by the Jack Nicklaus Golf Design Group is set to occupy some 500 acres of land around the Ogle-La Bonne Intention area not only for golf but an entire community.

According to President of the Lusignan Golf Course Aleem Hussain, he believes that this project is poised to bring in 15,000-20,000 visitors just for golf alone which he stated will boost the hotel industry immediately.

Hussain said whenever Jack Nicklaus decides to do a project in any part of the world it draws a tremendous attention and puts a focus unlike anything else.

Representative from the investment group, Roddy Carr, said the facility will provide a number of things including soft adventure, adventure, eco-tourism, experiential, extreme sports and virtually anything people want to do.

“All these segments have communities of hundreds of thousands of people and they have money… My thoughts on Guyana would be to develop a strategy that will capitalise on their unique assets which they have and develop that over a period of time, complement the lifestyle growth that you would have to build,” Carr said.

“This is going to be a world class course capable of hosting world class events if and when it is ready,” Carr added.

He made a comparison to that of Dubai which started to build infrastructure when they found oil in anticipation of the people that were going to live there.

According to the stakeholders, the project is expected to commence next year and will take 18 months to complete judging on the weather.

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