Prime??Minister David Thompson addressing the media following a tour of Portico Apartments in Prospect, St. James.
Prime Minister David Thompson is of the view that investments such as the Four Seasons project are necessary for this country’s development.
He made these comments today, following a tour of Portico apartments in Prospect, St. James.
Commenting about reports in the media questioning Government’s involvement in the Four Seasons project, Mr. Thompson explained that this was necessary because of the importance of brand recognition. "…we certainly would not want a player of that size and significance to walk away from Barbados, while government folds its hands and essentially does nothing."
He added: "It was something we always felt needed to be developed and it is a pity that it had spent 20 years in bush and became derelict, because it is important, in terms of its size, its location … the quality of its beach and amenities, its ability to create jobs and in terms of the strategies that successive governments have pursued."
The Prime Minister underscored the point that government did not select investors. "We accept usually on face value the ability of investors to be able to carry out the investment that they say they are going to carry out, but there are also circumstances … where people have had to revise their investment schedules and have had to change their perspectives on how the developments would take place", he explained.
Mr. Thompson asserted that the first objective was not to give guarantees for ventures of this type. "So the government is not available, generally speaking, for that kind of thing. I want to make that abundantly clear.
"It is extremely risky. It has brought down governments in other countries; I don’t intend to let it bring down my government. And it can sometimes smack of an element of favouritism, and once you start it, it becomes like a rolling stone that will gather moss, therefore, we have to be very careful", he warned.
Mr. Thompson indicated that in such instances it was therefore government’s responsibility "to constantly ensure that whatever processes that we are involved in as a government are efficiently and quickly undertaken, so that there is no impediment to that investor.?? … that’s why we have met with them since last October and kept in touch with them and sought to facilitate what was agreed would be part of the investment."
Mr. Thompson said: "In 1994 when we were coming out of the economic crisis, what would have propelled the property boom that we had for 14, 15 years, was the fact that the developments like Westmoreland were on stream."
He described them as flagship projects "that pulled along other developments… to help us attract more foreign investment in their country." Mr. Thompson added that in these instances it was necessary to see what government could do to assist.