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$700m Sandals injection

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

$700m Sandals injection

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Sandals hotel chain has so far invested $700 million in hotels in Barbados, exceeding the initial planned investment of $400 million.

Disclosing these figures in the House of Assembly yesterday, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler claimed it as justification for the concessions given to the hotel chain which is already operating two hotels in Barbados and is preparing to build the third, Sandals Beaches Resort in St Peter.

“We took a lot of criticism,” Sinckler said, a remark he directed at naysayers who had accused his Government of giving away Barbados, because of the generous concessions which were given to Sandals.

The minister countered the criticism yesterday, saying “Sandals has performed way and beyond even our own initial expectations in relation to what they have invested in Barbados”.

He pointed out the initial plan was to invest “over $400 million” in converting the former Almond Beach Hotel to a Sandals property, but said three years on, Sandals had invested “more than $400 million” in the Barbados economy already, buying one property (Sandals Casuarina) and improving it to world class level, and building a second hotel (Sandals Royal) next door.

Sinckler said the Sandals hotels were part of a projected US$1 billion (BDS $2 billion) of investment in tourism-related projects that were either already on the way or planned for the future.

Together, all that planned development would see an additional 2 300 rooms created and 5 000 net new jobs in the economy over the next few years. (GC)