With a lucrative offer of owning 67 per cent of the US$58M Georgetown Marriott Hotel by investing only US$8M, there are local businessmen who have expressed an interest in participating in the project but seem to be stonewalled by project director, Winston Brassington.
One such businessman with a proven track record of financial capacity recently related to this newspaper that he had approached Brassington to invest.
He was told, “Your foot too short.”
Brassington at the time indicated to the local businessman that the Government-controlled, Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI), which is managing the hotel and its construction, has already secured a private investor- ACE Square Investment Inc, owned by two Hong Kong businessmen.
Following the public announcement by Brassington, the two businessmen, Victor How Chung Chan, and Xu Han, are yet to put in the promised US$8M, leading the local businessman to question what exactly is going on as it relates to the financial arrangements for the Georgetown Marriott.
The local businessman is adamant that since the project presents a lucrative option, he would like to invest but is currently being stonewalled by Brassington.
According to projections of Government, the private investor who would be plugging US$8M would be pocketing approximately US$46M by the end of 10 years.
The businessman’s offer is similar to one made by Publisher of the Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall.
He said that in a telephone conversation with Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, regarding the Marriott Hotel, he had signaled his intentions to become a small investor in the project.
“His reaction was dismissive,” Lall said. “He said that if a man has expertise in a hotel business and he come to us, we will take him in front of you as he will be more of an asset. To date, we are reading no investor on board, and I am yet to get a telephone call from the Minister. I am still interested in making the investment,” Lall added.
AHI has, however, publicly announced two investors, none of whom has experience in the industry but rather in mining and lottery.
Brassington, AHI and the proposed Marriott project had come under extreme criticism over the fact that a private investor will only have to invest US$8M to control the US$58M project.
With Brassington’s refusal of local investors who have demonstrated capacity and financial ability, there are continuing questions as the refusal and continuing secrecy over the details.
A local private investor will force details of the financial arrangements to be exposed.
Following years of being unable to secure the financing to complete the project, AHI recently caused to be published in the Official Gazette the fact that it had taken out a mortgage from Republic Bank, with the collateral being the hotel’s land and property.
Under the proposed financial structure for the project, as announced by Brassington, Government through the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) will invest a total of US$4M to own 33 per cent of the project while it will loan the project another US$15.5M to be repaid at no interest.
According to Brassington, Republic Bank was approached to facilitate a syndicated loan of US$27M while a private investor will invest US$8M and own the majority shares.
This, according to local investors, appears to be a lucrative offer but they are being prevented from putting in their money.
To date, based on information, NICIL remains the only investor in the US$58M Hotel Project, with its equity investment of US$4M.
There are also questions at this time, with the fact that the Kingston hotel is significantly completed, where the additional monies came from.
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