Jagdeo says new Marriott deal lacks transparency, an elections gimmick

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo contends that the new deal to build a Marriott-branded hotel at Ogle, Greater Georgetown lacks transparency and is merely an elections gimmick by the incumbent administration.

While the APNU/AFC were in opposition, they had heavily criticised the PPP/C administration for pioneering the current Marriott Hotel located at Kingston, Georgetown.

However, on Wednesday, it was announced that the caretaker APNU/AFC Administration made a secret move with the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) to facilitate the construction of another hotel under the same brand.

On Thursday, Jagdeo addressed the matter at his weekly press conference, stating that while investors are welcomed in Guyana, the secrecy of the arrangement was surprising.

Jagdeo questioned whether permission was given by Marriott for its name to be used. This was later confirmed by the investor who admitted that there is no franchise agreement in place.

Moreover, Jagdeo reminded that when the PPP/C Administration had embarked on constructing the current Marriott Hotel, it faced intense levels of scrutiny from the public as well as heavy criticism from the then APNU/AFC Opposition.

During the 2015 elections campaign, the coalition party had talked about selling off the multi-million-dollar tourism flagship project as well as making it into a hospital facility.

While in Opposition during the 10th Parliament, the APNU and AFC had criticised the construction of the Marriott Hotel and other major projects undertaken by the then People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration. They had conducted picketing exercises in front of the hotel from the inception of its construction in 2011. In 2012, Khemraj Ramjattan had introduced legislation to block the PPP/C’s move to construct the Marriott.

“You will see some of the very players in Government, how duplicitous they have been…Now this is one of the most profitable Marriotts in the world. The one that we have here in Guyana. It’s covering all its costs and it’s doing extremely well. This just shows you the level of scrutiny and hurdles that we had to overcome to get that Marriott built and the same people who are saying that it’s a ‘choke and rob’ operation…now NICIL has secretly done this and sprung it on us just yesterday (Wednesday)”.