Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has reiterated the importance of fast-tracking projects across the island, where the finances are available, to ensure employees return to work in this COVID-19 environment.
Ms. Mottley made the comments on Friday after touring the construction site of the Hyatt Ziva Hotel, on Bay Street, with Attorney General Dale Marshall; Minister of Tourism, Kerrie Symmonds and developers, including Mark Maloney, where a section of the building, which formerly housed Liquidation Centre, was being demolished.
At the end of the tour, the Prime Minister told the media: “We expect to see more construction going on in this environment …. There are multiple things that are going to have to be done to keep those Barbadians who have lost their jobs as a result of this pandemic occupied, and it is full steam ahead for us.”
She said she had been advised that there would be two weeks of demolition, and the next phase would be the enabling works and foundation.
“That should have about 150 people onsite during that eight-week period. And then I’m told that they will move to start to bring the buildings out [of the foundation], which should be about another 500 jobs,” she explained.
Ms. Mottley said Government was anxious to settle matters pertaining to the sale of that land with the owners, but there were setbacks with its valuation.
“All we have tried to do is to balance the interests of the owner and the interests of the country, to ensure that they receive a fair value, and the Government remains ready to close that and to pay …. But what we can’t do any more is to put this country’s development on pause,” she stressed.
Attorney General Marshall said Government was still willing to sit with the family, pointing out that as much as $12 million had been offered.
The Prime Minister added that she was hopeful both sides could meet again, and they could agree on an amount that was fair to the family and the taxpayers of Barbados. “I have a fiduciary duty, and I will not trifle with it,” she stressed.
Mr. Maloney said he and his partner were committed to the project. He pointed out that the changes made since its inception, including the acquisition of additional land, had made it a lovelier project.
He noted that the planning requirements for the project were stringent, with a number of obligations, including the investment in an Urban Transformation Fund, for the people of Bridgetown.
“The whole world is going through difficult periods and adversity, but we believe that there’s more opportunity for us now…. This is significant for us, for Hyatt, and this will be ready at the perfect time. Two years from now, we’ll have an amazing project for Barbados …
“So, it’s exciting for us too because we’re going to be the innovative ones that will be coming out of the box right away…. We’re pushing full steam ahead,” he stated.