Govt. finally breaks silence on Marriott…Tax dollars funded project – Luncheon admits

Govt. finally breaks silence on Marriott…Tax dollars fund entire project – Luncheon admits

March 5, 2015 | By | Filed Under News
Government yesterday admitted that NICIL spent all of the US$58M needed for Marriott Hotel construction.

Marriott Hotel. Georgetown, Guyana

Just weeks before the 197-room, US$58M Marriott Hotel is set to open its doors in Kingston, Georgetown, Government in explosive disclosures yesterday admitted that all of the monies it spent so far to bring the facility into operation, has been from the taxpayers.

That was after court cases and other factors held back the release of more than US$30M from a bank and two private investors from Hong Kong.

There had been questions about Government finding the estimated US$34M that was needed to complete the hotel but Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, finally broke the silence, disclosing how the hotel came to the point of completion.  

He said that the Government-owned, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), has put up the rest of the money with the understanding that the money will be repaid by the investors when the matter is cleared up, sometime in the future.

The repayment arrangements is bound to raise eyebrows over where NICIL, first of all,  found over US$34M and more importantly, whether it would make sense to give control of the hotel and its adjoining casino into the hands of a third party, after spending that sum to construct and complete the facilities.

Luncheon, during his weekly post-Cabinet press briefings, noted that the financial closure of the hotel deal had been affected by legal actions and other delays.

Luncheon said that without NICIL’s intervention, it would not have been possible to advance the hotel to its completion stage.

He made it clear that NICIL, a Government-owned company that specializes in investments on behalf of the state, has mechanisms in place that it will be “reimbursed”.

Under the arrangements, Government had leased the Kingston lands -6.886 acres; up-fronted almost US$22M as its share of the project and was awaiting almost US$27M from a syndicated loan via Republic Bank Trinidad, and another US$8M from a Hong Kong duo for the equity shares.

Government has set up a special company– Atlantic Hotel Inc. (AHI)– to handle the management of the hotel.
The seven-storey main structure will include an administration building containing offices, and a banquet hall as well as a separate entertainment complex, containing a specialty restaurant, nightclub and casino.

Winston Brassington

Winston Brassington,

Winston Brassington, the head of NICIL and AHI, had said in 2013 an equity investor was secured. However, it was not until May last year that AHI and Republic Bank were able to release the name of the investor. The investors, who were identified as Victor How Chung Chan and Xu Han, are principals in the British Virgin Islands (BVI)-registered, ACE Square Investments Ltd.

A few months ago, Brassington, who has been under fire for his role in a number of controversial deals, admitted that financing for the project was in jeopardy because of the court case filed by Opposition Member of Parliament, Desmond Trotman.

The court case sought to block the transfer and mortgaging, among other things, of those prime Kingston lands.
Brassington, and Government by extension, until yesterday, have been largely silent on how the hotel was going up.
Built by Chinese contractor, Shanghai Construction Group, the works have been criticized because of the very few jobs that were available to locals.

Recently, AHI said that it has hired almost 240 staffers.
Last minute minor works, like landscaping, are being done by the contractor with a main roadway, Battery Roadway being currently repaired, in anticipation, of the hotel’s opening.

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  • de castro  On 03/07/2015 at 11:52 am

    In UK using public funds to finance private project is an offence….with a jail sentence…however there are joint private/public ventures but the legal aspect is very public…..up front…before it can go ahead…..
    And as above article suggest how naive were the government negotiator/s.

    This one will drag on in the courts with lawyers making the most of it.

    Sad state of affairs

    only in Guyana.
    Sir kamtan ukplc

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