Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has dismissed suggestions that investors are shying away from Barbados, disclosing that the country can expect a major injection in its offshore drilling programme as well as another investment which he is keeping close to his chest for now.
He insisted today that investors continued to pump major funds into the island because of their confidence in the economy, even amidst the downturn.
“People from outside of Barbados are beginning to look at Barbados in a very serious way and are proffering investments across a number of sectors. Only this morning I met with some investors, but I am not at liberty to speak about the meeting, because it is in germination. It is going to bring a new kind of colour to Barbados’ economy,” he said in Parliament today.
“But there are others. In tourism, in another two days or more it will be revealed that massive foreign and local investments will be made in this sector. I had a visitation from an investor who said that a group of them had just bought a major property which had been out of ‘circulation’ and will be brought back into business by 2015/2016.
“We know that significant foreign investment is going into Barbados’ tourism plant. It would please Barbadians to know about people who are saying to us: this country has a future and we are prepared to put our money where our mouths are,” he added.
Sinckler revealed that there would soon be “exciting news” regarding Barbados’ offshore drilling programme.
“It has been quiet over the past couple years, but I know it is going to force some people to stand up and wonder what is going on in Barbados. In fact,
very shortly I will be asking the Prime Minister’s permission to travel overseas to speak with international investors to bring them up to date on what is happening in that area.
“We know of the investment in the waste to energy project. The principals of that project will soon be visiting Barbados to meet with Government officials and hold town hall meetings to apprise residents on the operations of the project.”
The St Michael North-West MP also told Parliament that during a recent dinner engagement with a member of the Royal family and investors he was given the assurance that they will do everything to bring investors to the country. He also identified some projects that are up
and running, including Sandals.
“We got a lot of lashes for bringing Sandals to Barbados but that is the type of investment that we require. If you look at it, you will see right now in Dover, Christ Church, the Sandals machinery is really in full swing. It is a spectacle and spectacular. Right now as I speak there are close to 500 people at that site working and that is expected to increase in the coming weeks and months, maybe going as high as 700 or 800 or 900 workers on that site to do a year or a year and half work in seven or eight months,” he said.
The minister added that Sandals invested US$65 million in the property because of the concessions offered “and particularly because of investor confidence in the future of Barbados economy”.