Gov’t expects elections before new hotels are completed

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Foreign Affairs Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez has suggested that no new hotel projects are likely to be completed before the next general elections but he hopes that at least two of them will be far advanced.
“Elections could be next month, it could be early next year and it’s going to be very difficult to see that any of these mega projects would be completed within 12 months or even 18 months, but certainly at least two of the major projects will be out of the ground before the next elections even if it’s within six months,” Fernandez said.
The Waldorf Astoria Antigua by Callaloo Cay and the Marriott branded Autograph Collection Hotel both plan early 2020 openings while the US $215 million Replay Resorts Half Moon Bay and US $400 million Sunwing Royalton were both to have started construction in 2016 but are yet to get off the ground.
Likewise, the US $2 billion YIDA International broke ground in May 2015 but only recently began limited construction activity.  In Barbuda, the US $250 million Paradise Found Hotel, the US $250 million Peace Love & Happiness and the near 1,000-acre Gravenor Virdee project remain in the early stages with no firm timelines.
“We would have loved to have started all the projects the month after we got in or the month after they were signed on to, but the truth is the bigger the projects the more time they take to get started. In the case of, for example, the project over at Valley Church, the government pushes really hard in terms of engaging and getting the commitments of the investors but once it’s out of the government’s hands then it goes to the technical people in the various departments … the government can do all it can barring doing away with the environment department and the DCA and that’s something we would not do,” Fernandez said.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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