Owner of Pegasus Hotel, Robert Badal, says that the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) was not being truthful over the weekend about the reasons it switched to its luncheon to the nearby Marriott Hotel.
On Saturday, Badal said that GMSA, without any notifications, decided that it was holding the business luncheon, set for tomorrow, at the nearby Marriott Hotel which opened last Thursday.
On Sunday, GMSA in explaining the switch said that it was offered discounts and rebates from Marriott.
It said that the April 22 event was moved to the taxpayers’ funded hotel, after considering its estimated ticket sales, the value of sponsorship from the business community, the size of the Marriott’s conference room and the availability of that hotel’s room for the entire duration of the business luncheon.
GMSA insisted that one of its key objectives is to maintain political neutrality.
Additionally, GMSA said that for many years the Pegasus Hotel has always been its first preference for conferences, training programmes, business luncheons and other activities.
“However, this is not the first time that the GMSA’s Board of Directors took a decision to hold an activity away from that venue. There were occasions when the Pegasus was unavailable on our chosen dates, or the seating accommodation was insufficient for the size of the audience or participants.”
“We have made use of a number of alternative venues in and outside of the city (including Regency Suites and the Princess Hotel). It would be useful to point out that two of our last three major events were held at the Princess Hotel due to the unavailability of the Savannah Suite at the Pegasus,” the association added.
Badal had claimed that the political inference by the Government and President Donald Ramotar caused GMSA to switch the event.
He said, yesterday, that the response by the GMSA shows how distant its executives are from the truth.
He said that even though GMSA confirmed a booking on March 23, last, to host a question session with President Donald Ramotar, the body switched the event to the Guyana Marriott without the courtesy of notifying Pegasus. At no time did GMSA discuss menu or the number of persons attending.
“From previous events, the GMSA never fully utilized týhe capacity of our conference room. And while as a member we always gave them our best discount. Neither price nor venue capacity was in question in this particular case.”
Badal insisted that GMSA always, over the years, insisted on the lowest prices from Pegasus.
He said that he has since been told by a GMSA’s senior executive that the association will be paying more than double the price normally charged by Pegasus.
“Perhaps the President of GMSA would share with us the actual number of members who paid for the event after its conclusion on Wednesday.”
The Guyana Marriott Hotel was commissioned last week by Government but from its inception and construction, it was mired in controversy.
There was secrecy and cloudiness over the investors, the financing structure and its more-than-generous tax and other concessions.
The hundreds of jobs promised during its construction never materialized with the Chinese contractor importing labour.
The hotel has not received the blessings from the National Assembly and its opening last Thursday was shrouded by noisy protests.
Government opened the US$51M hotel without its critical entertainment section, comprising night club and casino incomplete.
Local hotels have expressed worry over the unfair competition that they will face especially in light of the tax and other concessions granted to Marriott.
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