KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – This country’s National Insurance Service (NIS) is not investing in the Four Seasons Resort in Barbados, contrary to reports in the regional media.
“Absolutely not true. You can take it from the minister,” Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves said Wednesday in response to a reporter’s question on the issue.
He said when he saw the report several months ago he said “… but where do these people get these things from?
“I didn’t say anything about it and I am glad that you have asked because somebody, administratively, somewhere in the bureaucracy in Barbados could perhaps make an error.”
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, said the local NIS was asked to invest in the project.
“It was a conclusion by the authorities and structures within the NIS that it just wouldn’t match what the NIS would want to get involved in,” he said.
He further stated that the political directorate in Bridgetown did not asked him about the local NIS investing in the stalled tourism development project.
“It was something that was done by persons who were inquiring whether the NIS would wish to be involved. … I was a little startled to see someone in public authority mention that in addition to the NIS in Barbados, the NIS in Dominica and St. Vincent are involved as minority shareholders in this venture.
“I don’t know what is the situation in Dominica. I haven’t asked them. But I can tell you, unequivocally, that the NIS in St. Vincent is not involved,” Gonsalves said.
According to the Nation newspaper in Barbados, Chris Sinckler, the Minister of Finance in Bridgetown, said on Jan. 11 that the Barbados NIS along with Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ were minority investors in the tourism project.
A Jan. 16 report in the same newspaper said that the Dominica government was yet to decide on a proposed EC$30 million investment in the stalled Four Seasons (Barbados) project. The matter was, at that time, yet to reach the desk of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is the country’s minister of finance.
The local NIS is expected to undergo some restructuring by next year because of declining revenue and increasing expenditure.
The social security institution is also at risk of losing an EC$62 million investment in the failed British American and CLICO insurance companies.