By Kurt Campbell
A Trinidad businessman, who runs the Amalgamated security company in Guyana, is building a Marriott-branded hotel at Ogle, East Coast Demerara on sugar lands he bought from the government.
While the hotel bears the Marriott brand, the lone investor, John Aboud, said he has not yet signed the franchise agreement with Marriott.
He made the disclosure at the turning of the sod ceremony for the massive construction project on Thursday at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.
Aboud bought 2.16 acres of the former Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) lands through the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) at a cost of over GYD$26 million per acre.
Infrastructural works are expected to begin in March even as the investors await several geotechnical and environmental studies.
Head of the Development Unit at NICIL, Rachel Henry, told the media that NICIL is assured through its due diligence process that an AC Marriott Hotel will be constructed on the land earmarked for that purpose.
She said the evaluation for the land was done by the government as she explained that the land was sold higher than the market value.
She clarified that the sale did not amount to a joint venture and there will be no input or ownership by the government.
Aboud said phase one of the US$75 million project will encompass a complex consisting of a 150-room hotel supported by 20,000 square feet office and retail space to complement the facility.
He said phase one will employ approximately 400 individuals during the construction phase and about 140 persons during operation.
He said too that during the operation phase, with the exception of perhaps five persons, all of the employees will be Guyanese nationals.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of NICIL Colvin Health-London told the gathering that negotiations for the deal were robust but fair to both parties.
“As much as was feasible, we tried to remove existing debris from the soil to minimize obstacles to healthy growth,” London said.
He expressed confidence in the investor’s public profile, saying that NICIL expects reliably good husbandry characterizing their international practice.