New East Bank hotel part of focus on development outside of G/Town – Finance Minister
By Vishani Ragobeer
Though the capital city of Georgetown is Guyana’s business hub, Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh has pointed to increasing efforts being made to facilitate infrastructural development outside of the city.
The Senior Minister alluded to these efforts while speaking at the sod-turning ceremony for the establishment of a 125-room Hyatt Place hotel along the East Bank Demerara, on Wednesday.
The hotel, set for a 2024 opening, is estimated to cost approximately US$32.2 million and it will be built on a five-acre parcel of land situated at Providence, Parcel 2441 Block III, East Bank Demerara.
In that area, importantly, there is also much pre-existing infrastructure. There are established housing schemes, the Amazonia Mall and Massy shopping complex, the Texila American University, Qualfon Guyana, the National Stadium and the ongoing road works and new housing schemes.
“We are literally a few minutes drive from major shore base development, and hundreds of millions of dollars in investments to supply services (to) the sector,” Dr. Singh said too, referring to the stretch of businesses along the nearby bank of the Demerara River.
And he contended that the integration of these businesses in this area is a strategic part of planned developments in the East Bank area.
Contextually, the capital city is also located on Guyana’s low-lying coastal plain. With the threat of climate change and rising sea levels, Dr. Singh highlighted that the government is working on a long term plan to build sea defence and gradually relocate more inland.
In addition to the suite of planned infrastructure upgrades along the coast, including more drainage canals like the massive Hope Canal in Region Four, Dr. Singh said that the government was also working towards gradual decentralisation of infrastructure and services.
“We’re going to increasingly pursue development inland like developments on the East Bank where the altitude is a bit higher than the frontline of the coast…and further inland like the Linden/Soesdyke highway and more broadly the hilly sand and clay region,” Dr. Singh said in response to questions from the News Room.
Meanwhile, Dr. Singh and Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond explained that there is significant interest in Guyana’s tourism industry due to the business-friendly environment created and the widespread authorities.
And Imtiaz Ahamad, the Chairman of SIR Investments Guyana Inc, the company investing in the Hyatt Place hotel, agreed.
“The construction shows our confidence in the economy, the tourism sector and the local business sector,” Ahamad stated.
The company emerged as a third-generation family business based in Trinidad and Tobago. The establishment of the Hyatt Place is the company’s first major investment outside of Trinidad.
The Hyatt Place is expected to employ 250 to 300 persons would be employed during the construction phase, 95 per cent of which are expected to be Guyanese nationals. In the post-construction phase, nearly 100 permanent jobs with several part-time roles would be created. And, some 90 per cent of those jobs are expected to be Guyanese nationals.