About half of the approximately 1,000 construction workers at the Sandals Beaches Resort are Vincentians, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said after a visit there on Tuesday.
“… on the actual construction, they have about 1,000 persons, just over 500 of them are Vincentians. I had told them from the beginning that at any one time on the construction site, you must have always at least half of Vincentians,” he said.
Gonsalves said that CODELPA, the company from the Dominican Republic which is building the resort, builds hotels all over the Caribbean and Latin America and outside of the hemisphere.
“… you would expect that they would have particular workers which they would have to bring, because specialist and some areas where we had some shortage of some skills and the like, and they have kept at that,” the prime minister said.
“Sandals have ensured that more than half, always are Vincentians. And then, in addition to those, there are persons who are — like you have over 100 persons working on the landscaping, between two firms. That’s not part of that counting.
“So, you have additional people and they have basically hired — it doesn’t involve also the people with trucks. They have basically hired all the trucks which are available in the country. They have bought all the plants and still have to import some. It’s amazing,” the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Agency for Public Information quoted Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves as saying during the visit on Tuesday that the resort will employ over 900 Vincentians when fully operational.
“This is a massive investment, we have currently over 500 Vincentians working on the site plus some foreigners, and when the hotel is opened, it’s going to open with 575 locals working here and by the beginning of next year … and they’re going to ramp up till the next tourist season, so that in January of next year, they are gonna have 900 Vincentians working here”, the fiancé minister said.
The 301-room resort is slated to open temporarily on Feb. 29 for the hosting of the one-day Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit on March 1, before opening officially on March 27.