Finance Minister Winston Jordan is bemoaning having to pay in excess of US$17M to rescue the Marriott International Hotel from being seized by Republic Bank.
The special purpose government-owned company, Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI), which owns the hotel, cannot afford to pay its debt to the bank, forcing the central government to take money from the public purse to settle the debt.
“We are now being forced, as the central government, to take over a debt that ostensibly had to be paid by AHI, the owner of Marriott hotel…The first bond payment matured this year and (neither) AHI nor parent company, NICIL had no money to pay,” Jordan explained to News Room during a recent interview.
The Finance Minister said the money will be paid off over a period of 15 years.
Reports are that the construction of the hotel was financed by a US$27M loan raised from a consortium of businesses. Republic Bank had assumed responsibility for managing the loan.
Jordan explained that this unforeseen expense is putting significant strain on an already burdened treasury.
“(Marriott) is not the only one, all the debts on GuySuCo we have to do, the NIS debt, they just keep piling up. So when we shout and we call for rightly increases in wages and salaries of public servants and teachers and so on, this is part of the reason that is holding us back from getting the objective,” he stated.