The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has extended the deadline by which Black Sands Resort, at Peter’s Hope, is to be completed, based on the terms of the alien landholding licence.
Canadian investors, PACE Developments, are yet to complete any part of Black Sands Resort at Peter’s Hope, six years after breaking ground.
At the ground breaking ceremony in February 2017, the investors had indicated that the project would have taken 24 to 30 months to complete.
Gonsalves said on radio, on Sunday, that the government received a formal application “for an extension of the timelines for them to complete, first of all, the first 50 rooms, which is the 10 blocks which have there”.
He said the new timeline “as I recall the time later this year, early next year.
“I don’t have the precise time and then to build out the 200-room hotel before the end of 2025,” he said on WE FM on Sunday.
“And they had — some of the problems were related to the organisation, the investors themselves, but some, obviously, related to COVID and the volcanic eruption,” he said, referring to the April 2021 explosive eruption of La Soufriere.
“One has to be reasonable. Even one is taking a position that, ‘Look, you should have been further along’, there were, in fact, challenges with COVID and the volcanic eruptions. Nobody can deny those. So, they make the application and we have done an extension,” the prime minister said.
At the groundbreaking for the project in February 2017, Joseph Romano of PACE Developments told iWitness News that his company had half of $60 million that the construction of the project was expected to cost.
He said that the that the project was “self-financed for now”.
Since construction started, there have been long periods during which no work was done on the project.
In January 2020, then Minister of Tourism, Cecil McKie, told Parliament that the project was being done in three phases, the current phase being the construction of 10 villas, each with five rooms.
McKie said that the government had been advised that the Physical Planning Department has indicated that while they consider the pace of construction to be slow, the infrastructure of the villas meets international standards.
The minister said that phases 2 and 3 would see the construction of a hotel block, consisting of a further 350 rooms.
This would commence when the villas are completed with phase 2 being the construction of 150 of the remaining 400 rooms, Mc Kie said.
The minister said the government had been advised that this phase would be completed in 14 months — or March 2021.
In his appearance on the radio show on Sunday, the prime minister was asked if he was saying that PACE does not have any financing issues.
“Well, not as far as I have been informed. Not as far as I have been informed,” Gonsalves said.
“… when you’re doing a project of this size, you need to have a proper structure on the ground. You can’t do it by distance. Is elementary. At least elementary to me and I think to a lot of people,” the prime minister further stated.
“The matter has been, from my vantage point, an issue of how they’re organising their activity. And they had reviewed what they were doing and they put some things in place. And we will see what will happen as a result of that.”
Gonsalves said that if PACE completes the 50 rooms and ancillary facilities such as restaurants, that would be a significant addition to room stock on western St. Vincent before the completion of the 200-room hotel.
“I haven’t gone into them — gone into the blocks but as far as I see from the drawings and the photographs, which I’ve been shown by the technical people, they seem to be doing good work,” the prime minister said.
They should have never used contractors from St VIncent, they should have brought in their own contractors and employed Vincentian workers.
They also need to change their concept of that Hotel
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