VINCENTIAN tradesmen and persons involved in the hospitality industry here have come in for praise from an investor attached to the La Vue Hotel and Beach Club.
The over EC$30 million dollar five-star hotel, located at Villa Point Road, officially opened its doors last Friday and employs 81 full time staff.
Speaking at the opening, joint owner of La Vue and president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of A& A Capital Inc. Adem Adem, said the construction workers and current hotel staff are extremely good at what they do.
In his brief remarks Adem praised the construction teams who worked on the project as well as the staff currently employed at the facility.
He said the country has talented workers as they only brought in five or six expatriates to train persons.
He also noted that over the last 18 to 19 months, a lot of persons helped make the facility what it is now and some persons thought the investors were crazy for taking on La Vue because they had just bought another property in East St. George.
They had to make La Vue of the highest quality possible as persons would use that facility to judge their other property which is currently under construction, and the investors with help from the workers have done just that, he added.
Adem noted also that they wanted the hotel to open in 90 days but the pandemic hit and slowed them down so they are glad to finally be able to open.
Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that the opening of the five-star La Vue Hotel and Beach Club is all about an economic transformation taking place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Gonsalves said there are persons who are not able to see economic transformation when it is happening.
He said the investors paid in excess of US$3 million for the property and invested over US$8 million to refurbish it, bringing the investment to around EC$30 million. Further, that over the years the government has strategically put several initiatives in place to fuel economic development, among them, the education revolution and the building of the Argyle International Airport (AIA) and the jet port in Canouan.
“It is happening and it may appear to many to have a randomness, but it is not a randomness. There is a systematic approach to how you build this economic transfor-mation…” Gonsalves said.
He said central to the transformation, are persons like the young people employed at La Vue.
“There are persons who finished secondary school; they would have gone to community college and they have developed various skills and in the modern period of information technology, they would develop those skills also.
“And where we are moving, is an economy in which you don’t have unlimited supplies of cheap unskilled labour. You are increasingly going to build an economy with an unlimited supply of skilled labour where they are priced at a higher point in the division of the international chain of labour,” Gonsalves said.
He remarked that this is not achieved overnight; there are always challenges and some people will need to be retrained.
“…and you would have to be sure that you deal with agriculture in a more scientific manner and fishing in a more scientific way to get everything going and for it to dovetail with the services, including tourism services and thus you need to set up an infrastructure and a regime for attracting foreign direct investment and sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss,” the PM said.
Gonsalves said he has “been advised that in addition to the US$3 million plus they paid for the property, they did another US$8 million thus far and they have other things to do, increasing the number of rooms from the initial 17 or 18 to 23 and they are building on one and two other things…”
“They have built this into an incredible facility that you can take this up anywhere and put it in any part of the world and you would say that this is a first class facility and I want to commend the investors for that.”
Gonsalves also expressed confidence that local employees along with others from overseas who have work permits are going to make the facility work.
“Let us understand that the investors would love St. Vincent and the Grenadines and see it as a magnificent place, but let us understand this, they are not philanthropist, they would want to make some money…,” the Prime Minister said.
He pointed as well to the financial benefits to the national coffers as the government will collect 11% VAT on the food and drinks one percentage point of which goes into a contingency fund, “just in case poor people are affected by bad weather.”
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