Patrick’s Taxi Service, owned and operated by Patrick Brassington, has been granted a contract with the Marriott Hotel as the sole provider of taxi services to the hotel brand.
This came to light even as there is no word on any tender ever being made to the public seeking a taxi service for the newly commissioned hotel, which has on its board of Directors, Brassington’s brother, Winston Brassington, who is also the Chairman of Atlantic Hotel Inc. (AHI).
Patrick’s taxi, which is based in Cowan Street, Georgetown, was first registered as a taxi service on May 19, 2011.
Owner of Pegasus Hotel, Robert Badal, explained that in the case of hotels, many people are granted contracts for supplying taxi services, rather than one. According to him, there is a good reason for that.
According to the businessman, if there is ever a dispute between the hotel and the taxi service and they withdraw their service, it would result in numerous guests being stranded.
Badal went on to lay out the correct procedure, stating that in his operation it is not a first come first serve. He also said that prospective taxi services go through a complete vetting process, to determine the best services that will be granted contracts.
The Guyana Marriott Hotel was officially commissioned on Thursday, amid protests from social activists during the opening ceremony. The protestors were forcibly restrained by officers of the police force, even as the President’s entourage swept past them into the Marriott compound.
The ceremony also faced a boycott from opposition figures, who had been belatedly invited to the event.
The 197-room Marriott Hotel in Kingston was hailed by Government as one of the special projects to boost tourism and hospitality. But it started off on a rocky road. From the transfer of the lands to the murky details of the financing, there were many questions from the Opposition, leading to clashes even in the National Assembly.
It was only after continuous pressure that Government finally released a partial feasibility study of the project.
From the inception of the project, it has been one filled with controversy, as billions of taxpayers’ dollars were spent by Government on the edifice and without the authority of the National Assembly. It was supposed to be a private/public partnership project. In the end, it ended up mostly a Government one. No big worry, except that Government is now planning to transfer a majority stake to a shadowy Hong Kong investor.
The lack of transparency and plans by Government to sell 67 percent of its equity to the equity investor for a mere US$8M, along with a host of tax concessions have angered Opposition as well as other hoteliers who have been struggling to fill rooms.
More than US$35M of taxpayers’ dollars was initially sunk into the hotel’s construction with no evidence of the hundreds of jobs promised during the construction to locals. The Chinese contractor, Shanghai Construction Group, reportedly imported scores of workers.
The still-secret concessions and other benefits of the Marriott Hotel have also been heavily criticized not only by the Opposition, but by other hotels which said the unfair playing field gave Marriott-brand structure a big advantage over them and would spell the death knell for them.
Last year, the Opposition, through Desmond Trotman, a former Parliamentarian, filed a court case blocking the hotel from transferring the lands and mortgaging it. It effectively blocked more than US$20M from coming in from the investors.
The calls are now on for Government to sell shares of the hotel to locals instead of a virtually unknown foreign investor.
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