Almost four years after breaking ground and promising to deliver a US$60 million resort in 24 to 30 months, Canadian investors PACE Developments cannot say when the villas at Peter’s Hope will be completed.
This is according to information communicated to parliament on Thursday, by Minister of Tourism Cecil “Ces” McKie.
In a question for oral answer, Opposition Leader Godwin Friday pointed out to the tourism minister that he had told lawmakers earlier this year that the villas of the hotel development project at Peter’s Hope would be completed by June 2020.
“From casual observation, it appears that the villas are far from complete and that work on them has halted,” Friday said.
He asked the minister to say when work would recommence and what the new expected completion date for the project is.
In response, as he had done previously, McKie reiterated that the project is being undertaken by a private investor.
“And, therefore, the most that we can do is to provide the information as they give [it] to us. And therefore, I would do the same now.”
McKie said he visited the site about three weeks earlier “to gather the relevant information so that I could give a pretty accurate response to the question”.
The Tourism minister said he had been advised that work on the 10, five-room villas “is well advanced relative to the exterior aspect.
“The exterior plastering has been completed and the workers are now on the inside of the villas, completing the plastering on the inside, after which the windows will be put in place and the doors hung.”
He said that the workers are also doing exterior work “relative to the driveways and the roads and some retaining walls on the outside.
“They have indicated that there are just under 50 persons engaged on the project and they have been in place since end of June-July this year.”
McKie said that the number includes 45 construction workers, with the remainder being security personnel and timekeepers.
He said that phase 2 of the project will include the construction of the 200-room hotel complex.
“And this they have received approval for already. They have indicated that like all of the other hotel projects in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and some of the larger projects that these have been severely affected by COVID-19 and, for example, they are still awaiting confirmation of the arrival of furnishings, equipment to complete the villas.
“These are coming from the USA, China, France and they cannot give an accurate date in terms of when they will arrive. In other words, they cannot say when the villas will be completed so that they can become operational.”
The resort is being built on 36 acres of land – part of a former agricultural estate — which the government sold the investors for EC$7 million.
Some commentators have said that the land was sold for way below its market valued and at too low a concessionary price.
At the ground-breaking ceremony in January, Joseph Romano of PACE Developments told iWitness News that the project is “self-financed for now” and that his company had half of the US$60 million needed to complete it.