…but Badal still peeved over lack of incentives for locals

Pegasus Hotel is gearing for an August completion with over 90 one-bedroom suites to be added.

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The corporate centre which will be completed in December.

Another building, to house corporate offices, is to be completed in December with over 200,000 square feet to house restaurants, salon and a gym there.
The disclosures were made by Pegasus’ owner, Robert Badal, yesterday during a media tour of the US$100M project.
The tour would come days after the state’s National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) announced that three new hotels, including an AC Marriot and Hilton, are coming to Guyana.
They will be built in the Ogle, East Coast Demerara area, where former cane lands have been earmarked for commercial and other developments.
Yesterday, Badal noted that his ambitious project was launched a year and half ago, using China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), as the contractor.
CHEC is the same company on the Timehri airport project which has been under fire for its work at that US$150M project.
Almost seven years after that project was started, it has not been completed.
CHEC, however, has completed the MovieTowne mall and is now working on the Pegasus’ project.
The 12-story luxury suite building towers over the nearby Marriott and will be one of the tallest buildings in the country.
“It shows how we do things in the private sector,” Badal said.
He said that the project will be a hallmark of careful planning, expert execution, and of mobilizing resources and finances.
When the tower is completed in August, tenants should be moving in by September.
“It is an integrated project. One can live upstairs and work downstairs. This project will bring traffic to this part of Georgetown,” Badal assured.
The businessman, who has established his own party and is contesting the March 2nd general and regional elections, was critical of the airport project, noting that his own is 10 times that of the terminal at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
The fact that Pegasus has managed to come so far in so short of a time, is testimony of how the private sector does things – within budget and time, he reiterated.
“This is 300,000 square feet of space – 10 times the terminal of the CJIA. We would have this in two years. Under politicians, it is taking them more than five years to build the one at CJIA.”
Badal is not threatened with the announcement of new hotels.
He said that the previous administration under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had conceived the Marriott in Kingston, next door to him, “to close Pegasus – the biggest display of unpatriotic behavior”.
“Look what happened today. We are paying our taxes while Marriott has not paid one dollar in dividends after five years…”
The businessman insisted that he is familiar with his business and has done well to market it.
“It is time that government insists that Marriott pay its taxes and dividends to the people of Guyana.”
Badal was critical of the sod-turning of the two projects on the East Coast by NICIL without clarity.
“When I turned the sod here, I had building permission…I had EPA permission…I had all the permits, the financing…everything.”
Badal made it clear that there is no building permit and no EPA, and no clarity if financing has been closed for the hotels announced on the East Coast.
“A group of persons come into the country, and are making a fool of our minister. We must demand some respect, we must demand better leadership. If you don’t have a building permit; an EPA permit; don’t have financing, how could you turn the sod?”
Badal said that he noted that Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, during the sod-turning on Wednesday, had indicated he wanted to reduce taxes on these types of investments,
The businessman complained that it takes foreigners to push for reduction of taxes while locals are being discriminated against. He believes that if given the same opportunities, local businesses can build their own brands.
During the initial construction phase, over 300 workers were engaged, with 60 percent being Chinese. There were transfers of technology.
Badal made it clear that he is not against investments, but in no way should taxpayers’ dollars be used to finance hotels and other similar ventures to compete directly against locals.

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