A close-up photo of one of the villas at Black Sands Resort, which is running six months behind schedule. The photo was taken on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2019. (iWN photo)

While some EC$300 million is being spent on hotel construction in St. Vincent, is it only expected to generate 600 jobs, an opposition lawmaker says.

Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock said that on the converse, just EC$50 million spent to build a factory to process fresh fruits can generate 100,000 jobs.

Leacock, an NDP vice-president, noted at his party’s village meeting in Cane Hall, last week, that the government recently borrowed EC$45 million from the World Bank.

He said that while the money has a low interest rate and a long repayment period, thereby making it cheap to borrow, he wants to know how many jobs it will create.

“I am not criticising hotel development either,” he said, adding that the country needs more hotel rooms.

“But if you’re taking $135 million to put a hotel down at Mt Wynne, $90 to put one at Diamond, some other people bring in another hundred to put one in Calliaqua…, nearly $300 million and you’re telling me when you spend 300 million just 600 people will have jobs?

“I say it is not creating enough work,” Leacock said.

Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, an NDP vice-president. (iWN file photo)

The government has announced plans to build hotels in Mt Wynne and Diamond, and private investors last week broke ground on the US$60 million Royal Mill hotel in Ratho Mill, which is expected to be completed by year-end.

Royal Mill is expected to employ 200 Vincentians during the construction phase and a similar number on completion.

The 250-room Marriott hotel that the government will build at Mt Wynne-Peters Hope, along with the privately-owned Black Sands Resorts, which is running six months behind schedule, is expected to employ a total of 500 persons. 

The 93-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites that the government will build at Diamond is expected to employ 75 people.

Leacock said he and the NDP are saying that if the government invest $50 million in the establishment of a large scale manufacturing plant to process fresh fruits, “you can create jobs for over 10,000 people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“And people don’t have to leave their homes to feed themselves, because you can stay right there pick off the passion fruit off the vine, the truck pass, pick it from you, give you your money, gone your way and you’re going again.”

He said that is how jobs are created.

“So the New Democratic Party looks for development from the bottom up. It start with not what’s good for me or Sister Kay but what’s good for you, and you and for the generations unborn,” he said, referring to NDP candidate for West St. George, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who hosted the meeting.

6 replies on “Hotel projects not generating enough jobs — MP”

  1. Well said Mr Leacock, you are spot on right.

    Perhaps also Cannery factories may well be the way to go. We will of course need to upgrade much of the varieties which we harvest from. Ours pips and stones, oranges with pits, new varieties have none.

    Kay is right from bottom up, not from top down, passed down by people who actually rarely know what day of the week it is, eh! comrade.

  2. This is why the opposition has to always be lingering behind because they try to find fault with everything the government does instead of coming up with sensible alternative solutions. Tourism agriculture, fishing and offshore banking along with taxation are the main income generated earners for the vast majority of Caribbean governments.

    What he should be saying is how funding for theses factories are going to come by, what would they be producing and in what quantities and what countries would they be exporting to.

    He should have a proper business plan to pitch to the general public, breaking it down step by step so the average man in the country would have a better understanding of how these projects are going to work.
    Economies of scale, as well as dis-economies of scale and proper market research analysis will play a great deal in a project of this magnitude.

    What he also failed to mention is that the building and successful operations of hotels will create widespread jobs for others who are not directly linked to the hotels. Such as taxi drivers, craftsmen/women, farmers and fishermen, car rental agencies just to name a few who will benefit from selling their produce and services to these hotels and tourists alike.

    Most modern hotels and resorts have one or more restaurants because some tourist rather eat in and just enjoy the beach and other natural sites of the country.

    More hotel rooms mean more visitors which will mean more flights, more jobs at the airport as well. So there’s a huge spill off effect to be felt in a positive way by all stake holders of the industry. Factories can be built at this point but mostly on a small scale rather than investing millions and it becomes another failed project.

    Processing plants will be useful in utilizing a vast amount of the fruits and vegetables that are produced in the country and some of these products can then be sold to the hotels and Villas, whilst seeking outside markets and then we can start the discussion on expanding manufacturing on a much larger scale.

  3. I remember prior to one of the past elections an assembly plant for farm machinery was proposed for Georgetown, one of the conditions was that the ULP were not re-elected.

    The assembly of imported parts resulting in the export of finished farm machinery in the region, whereby it could claim made in SVG status. Up to 2000 jobs were quoted, project ditched when the comrade and the dynasty clung to power via their ULP ownership.

  4. In a Market economy SHAWNB the market should decide what is best for the nation’s prosperity with private money making the investments that gives results.

    However, your kind of thinking SHAWNB are just the type to be expected from the top down form of economics that we have come to expect from the ossified lazy thinking that we have become so accustomed to expect in this region. Making “driving Miss Daisy”, grass cutters, and Chambermaids out of us all.

    Indeed you have said that “Most modern hotels and resorts have one or more restaurants because some tourist rather eat in and just enjoy the beach and other natural sites of the country”. And yes “tourist rather eat in” with the food they consume being largely imported and pray do tell what natural sites exist here for them to see?

    Moreover why spend one’s two or three weeks’ vacation in a sprawling slum?

  5. SHAWNB.. I don’t think at a political meeting MP Leacock can go into all those details of a proper business plan. I’m for the hotels but the rate at which they are being built and failing is another question. I’m for factories/ processing plants also. I believe this can help us economically faster and create jobs pushing entrepreneurs. I can grow passion fruit for example and harvest make a profit before a hotel is up and running. We import some much artificial juice mix, koolaid, turbo etc. A processing plant can process these fruits and package. Everybody loves lime juice but who loves to squeeze lime??

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