GUYANA: Sod turned for US$20M Marriott-branded hotel at Timehri – near CJIA

— President Ali sees need for training of thousands of hospitality workers

President Irfaan Ali (third from left) is joined by US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch (third from right), Public Works Minister Juan Edghill (second from right), Minister of Tourism and Industry Oneidge Walrond (at right), Roy Bassoo (second from left) and an official from the Marriott chain in turning the sod yesterday. (Office of the President Photo)
President Irfaan Ali (third from left) is joined by US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch (third from right), Public Works Minister Juan Edghill (second from right), Minister of Tourism and Industry Oneidge Walrond (at right), Roy Bassoo (second from left) and an official from the Marriott chain in turning the sod on July2, 2021 (Office of the President Photo)

Turning the sod for a US$20 million Marriott-branded hotel at Timehri, President Irfaan Ali yesterday said that his government has forecast the need for 3,000 to 4,000 hospitality workers and this was why it has decided to invest in training persons.         

“We decided as a government we are going to make the investment, producing those Guyanese to facilitate this investment and other investments. Whether it is through scholarship or a home-grown design programme, the investment will be made by the government to promote and provide Guyanese to meet the skills requirement for these facilities,” Ali disclosed while addressing a gathering at the ceremony for the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel being constructed at Timehri, next door to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

Last December, the government signed a loan arrangement with the Caribbean Development Bank for   a US$11.6 million Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute.

 The construction of the 140-room hotel, by Cardinal Investment, a subsidiary of R. Bassoo and Sons Construction, is one of several hotels that are being constructed subsequent to a call by the government for expressions of interest.

Addressing the sod turning ceremony, Ali said that his government is working for the private sector to create new opportunities for the people. He stated that the government will be working along with the private sector to ensure they are not the only beneficiaries of development as these must radiate to the wider population.

“That is how the economy operates, that is how real progress takes place and that is how sustainable development works,” Ali said. He further urged ambitious Guyanese with a plan and looking to invest to “knock on the door” as his government is ready to assist in projects that will foster development. He stated that artists in the local arts and craft industry will have a new environment to market their products to tourists with the establishment of new world class branded hotels.

“We are talking about creating a new environment for those in art and craft, we understand as a government they will not be able to pay for large spaces in the duty-free concession but they cannot be locked out development so very soon government will invest in facilities that will give them an equal break,” Ali said to an applause from the gathering.

Equal opportunities

He promised that there will be an equality of opportunity as his government will be investing in infrastructure that provides equal opportunities.

“This is not gaff, this is not propaganda, it is real work every day to realise the opportunities,” he asserted.

Touching on the Bassoo family’s investment, the president said it is one that will transform the landscape and skyline of the Timehri and the CJIA.

It was against this background that he said Timehri and its environs are in for some major changes over the next five years, creating new opportunities for jobs and services. “…not only are we seeing the realisation of a hotel but the realisation of a new urbanisation spread. This area will become a major hospitality, sport and recreational area, in addition to business,” he posited. The president said that approximately 40 foreign investors have already approached the government and the airport authority to set up investments in the area.

He said that his government is currently in talks with urban planners looking at the development of Silica City and the type of infrastructure that will surround it.

“We are looking for investors who would like to establish a first class marina, for boating opportunities, a docking club, a yachting club and a world class resort along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway,” Ali announced.

Meanwhile, United States Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch, while congratulating the family for their investment, regarded it as a “win-win” situation that signifies the strong partnership of the United States and Guyana.

“The world and Guyana is opening up as we transition into a post COVID era where demand for travel and hospitality services is skyrocketing. This new hotel will create good jobs for Guyanese, training them on the skills necessary for the world at a world-class hospitality company,” the Ambassador added.

During the sod-turning ceremony, Roy Bassoo, Executive Director of Cardinal Investment, said that the project is being constructed in partnership with the King Jin group from China and his family-owned construction company. The project, which is scheduled to be completed by early 2023, is being financed by Republic Bank. It is being erected on 2.5 acres of land. The Courtyard by Marriott, which has more than 1,200 locations in over 53 countries and territories, will be the second Marriott-branded hotel in the country.

Bassoo had previously explained that their decades-long presence at the airport via the Lotus Restaurant made them aware that this was an unserved area of the hospitality market.

“We wanted the right conditions before we invested and those conditions came with the opening of the oil and gas sector and the government’s RFP [request for proposal],” Bassoo explained, while noting that the burgeoning oil sector has renewed interest in local investment opportunities,” he said.

The hotel will cater for airport and airline staff, business persons, diplomats and other travellers.

In March 2021, an agreement between Marriott and Cardinal Investment was signed paving the way for the construction. The conceptual design was done by Urbahn Architects .The hotel will feature luxury amenities such as a spa, pool, restaurants and entertainment spots.

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Comments

  • Regina  On 07/04/2021 at 2:28 am

    Glad to see A new Airport building near The Cheddi Jagan Airport in Guyana’ This is long overdue and once it is complete will be so convenient for travelers coming in and going back to their destination especially when ** and if** there is a flight issue.

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