Mar 30, 2017 News
The contractor of Marriott Hotel in Kingston has broken the silence on the current impasse over outstanding monies.
Over the weekend, Deputy Project Manager of Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), Jie Xu, made it clear that his employer believed that they have been treated unfairly by CEMCO, a local engineering firm retained by Government.
At heart of the matter are the monies that SCG says it is owed. The contractor is claiming between US$4M and US$5M.
However, the hotel’s state-owned company, Atlantic Hotel Inc. (AHI) and its parent company, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), are both denying this. NICIL’s Chief Executive Officer, Horace James, had said that figure was more like US$900,000.
This has since been reversed by a final report of CEMCO’s which found fault with SCG’s work.
The report said that it is the Chinese contractor who owes the hotel; not the other way around.
SCG had taken up residence in the unfinished section of Marriott, which had been earmarked for an entertainment section, complete with casino. They have refused to move until the matter is resolved.
NICIL had been involved in the matter. According to Jie Xu, the contract price for the hotel was for US$51M. SCG was paid US$47M.
SCG was supposed to complete the shell of the entertainment section. It is in this area that the SCG workers are camping out.
Jie Xu said that it was Winston Brassington, former head of AHI who gave the workers permission to stay. The workers, about 200 of them, had been camping out in the compound, but moved to the unfinished sections, which is fixed with air-condition units and bathroom, about eight months ago.
“We appreciate the attention of Kaieteur News in this matter. We prefer negotiations in the matters and amicable resolution with AHI or NICIL, the employer. We think that the engineering company, CEMCO, is unfair to us when they assessed our work. We believe that they do not understand the nature of the contract which is governed by international rules.”
Jie Xu said that they are preparing to meet with NICIL officials. SCG is not too keen on a court case.
“We prefer negotiations. We have been treated unfairly. We handed over the hotel. We have gone past the defects notification period.”
The Chinese official said that SCG had gone ahead and purchased special materials for Marriott out of its own pockets and now faces legal actions for debts.
Marriott has been hailed by the previous administration as being a game changer in the hotel industry as it would be the first major brand.
However, the project was faced with major objections by the Coalition which was in the opposition over the financing structure and costs.
Government has spent more than US$20M in cash and guaranteed loans from Republic Bank to the tune of almost US$30M.
The hotel is under pressure to meet its commitments with the administration forced to pay almost US$1.1M every six months to Republic Bank.
Local hotels have accused government of being unfair and in reality, is subsidizing the Marriott chain by taking over the loan.
The administration has announced plans to sell the hotel.
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