Nov 24, 2011 News
…Luncheon says Marriott is racehorse; Princess, Pegasus are cab horses
Robert Persaud who was at the time hosting a Peoples Progressive Party Civic Campaign Update told media operatives that the administration would need the permission of the parties in the consortium of owners of the Marriott Guyana before information is divulged.
Persaud said that he is aware of the details but given the nature of the transaction would not be able to divulge it at the time.
He did point out as an alternative to forward queries to the Privatization Unit or the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited both of which are headed by Winston Brassington, but efforts to contact him proved futile.
Brassington was one of the principal negotiators behind the project and today is listed as one of the principals for Atlantic Hotel Incorporated (AHI).
AHI is a special purpose company that has been established to own the hotel but to date full disclosure on the shareholders is yet to be made but according to Persaud, “All the facts are available and the people that have the facts are available.”
Persaud told media operatives that, “I am aware of the details but I have to make sure that the parties are interested in this regard including as I said one of the region’s largest bank.”
The bank he was referring to is Republic Bank which has its headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Republic Bank Group which has branches in Guyana has committed to providing US$27 million or just over half of the US$51 million for the project during the sod turning ceremony on Sunday last.
Asked whether Head of State Bharrat Jagdeo has a financial interest in the Guyana Marriott, Persaud said, “I haven’t seen President Jagdeo’s interest in that project.”
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, asked to justify the cost of Marriott which is four times the cost of the 250-room Princess Hotel, said that the increased cost for the project is as a result of the change in design which sets Marriott as the benchmark for excellence in Guyana.
He described the Marriott as the thoroughbred racehorse in the local hotel industry. The other hotels are the quarter horses that draw punts in the backdams and dray carts on the roads.
He said that the contribution of services to the economy has to be taken into consideration and its steady increase has to be noted and is expected to continue its contribution to the local economy.
“The quality of service is the big difference,” Dr Luncheon said adding that the “Marriott is designed to provide excellence in service.
“You have to pay for it or regret not paying…it is likely to be the benchmark of excellence of the hotel industry in Guyana.”
However, one contractor said that the cost of the materials that go into the construction of a hotel is constant for both the ‘thoroughbred’ hotel and the quarter horse’ hotel. The labour cost in Guyana would be lower than in most other places.
Almost eight years after being conceptualized Jagdeo and Area Vice President for the Marriott Brand of International Hotels, Andrew Houghton on Sunday morning turned the sod signaling the start of the construction phase of the signature accommodation.
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