"Construction of marina in bridgetown to begin in about nine months
Years of delay and controversy are about to culminate with the construction of an upscale $202 million marina in Bridgetown, work on which is expected to start early next year. But by the time Barbados has finished paying for the super yacht facility in 25 years, the tax payers would have spent $505 million in a Build Operate Lease and Transfer deal with a St. Lucia company.
However, Minister of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler asserted today that the benefits would be significant, including $132 million from the reclamation of lands and sale of 80 berths alone. Sinckler announced plans for the project, to be located in the area of the Pierhead/Bay Street/Carlisle Bay section of the City, via a ministerial statement delivered in the House of Assembly this morning on the resumption of sittings. He said following completion of a tendering process, Government agency the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. had signed a memorandum of understanding with St. Lucia's SMI Infrastructure Solutions Inc. for the venture to take place.
"The project, which has been under consideration for several administrations, and for many years, will see the construction of a super yacht marina consisting of approximately 80 berths...," he said. "The memorandum of understanding was signed with SMI Infrastructure Solutions Inc. for a Build, Own, Lease and Transfer financing arrangement. "With the marina expected to cost $202 million, Sinckler said Government would have to make annual payments of $20.2 million at an interest rate of 8.8 per cent and that "lease payments will reduce overtime in accordance with the quantum and timing of cost recovery".
Barbados' overall payments between next year and 2037 will be $505 million, including interest of $303 million, but the St. Michael North West MP suggested the benefits would outweigh the costs.
"Cost recovery is estimated at US $66 million for the reclamation of lands and the sale of berths. This transformational tourism infrastructural project will assist in repositioning the Barbados tourism product offering, while being the catalyst for the regeneration of the Bridgetown area," he said. "The tourism product offering will also move towards the upper end of the tourism market by attracting more high net worth individuals, who can be expected to own berths at the super yacht marina. They will also purchase condominiums on the 10 acres of prime real estate that will be created through the reclaimed lands, which are the by-product of the building of the marina." Additionally, the minister said development of the marina "will result in enhancement of the beach in the immediate vicinity of Carlisle Bay, which will be targeted by the coastal tourism master plan for future development".
"Other economic benefits include the injection of foreign exchange into Barbados, the creation of hundreds of jobs during the construction and permanent jobs after construction, repositioning of Barbados' tourism product and the marina acting as a catalyst for major new investment along the Bay Street corridor," he noted.
"Construction is expected to commence in about nine months and prior to the commencement of construction stakeholder meetings will be held."
Construction of a marina in Bridgetown has been in the offing for well over a decade, with a previous administration originally seeking to partner with local conglomerate Barbados Shipping & Trading, a major landowner in the area. In recent times the current administration's handling of the venture has been criticised repeatedly by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, who claimed the projected cost had risen to more than $626 million and it was facing legal difficulties."
Source: Barbados Today