Barbados can expect more loans from the People’s Republic of China under preferential terms to fund a number of infrastructure and development projects, including expansion of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados Wang Ke disclosed today that Beijing was prepared to offer “large scale preferential” loans to Barbados for a wide range of projects as a show of confidence in the country.
Government today signed a preferential loan agreement with the Export-import Bank (Exim Bank) of China which will fund the Sam Lord’s Castle redevelopment project.
The agreement, which comes after about 18 months of negotiation, will see the disbursement of US$170 million for the construction of a Wyndham Hotel and reconstruction of the Castle on the old Sam Lord’s Castle site in St Philip.
Ke said the St Philip project was the “very first of its kind” large scale infrastructure project in Barbados for which China was offering funding under preferential terms.
“This makes China the only country that offers large scale preferential loan to finance infrastructure projects in Barbados, which not only shows that China remains confident in Barbados’ tourism industry and its national economy, but also write a new chapter in China-Barbados partnership of neutral benefit and win-win corporation,” said the Chinese diplomat. “I would like to mention that besides Sam
Lord’s Castle hotel, China and Barbados are negotiating several other projects to be funded by China preferential loans such as the reconstruction and expansion of the Grantley Adams International Airport and Pier-head Marina project in Bridgetown.”
She said the loan agreement would not only promote bilateral corporation but would also bring “new vitality into partnership of comprehensive coorporation” between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries.
“I hope the two sides, taking Sam Lords Castle hotel project as an example, could push for negotiations of further corporation and continuously gain new achievements so as to bring more and greater benefits to our two countries and peoples,” she added.
Ground breaking for the Sam Lord’s Castle project is expected to take place on Monday, followed by the construction of the multi- million dollar international brand name hotel led by the China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corporation Group.
“I expect and believe that the construction and future operation of the Sam Lords Castle hotel will play a positive role in further advancing the contribution that tourism makes to Barbados national economy. Meanwhile
the Sam Lord’s Castle hotel will lay a solid foundation and set up a pilot project as well for more capable Chinese enterprises that are about to participate in Barbados infrastructure projects,” said Ke.
Pointing out other areas of “Chinese participation” in the development of Barbados, including the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said today’s signing marked another phase of the relationship between the two countries.
And he expressed confidence that the redevelopment of the Sam Lord’s Castle and the construction of the Wyndham hotel would benefit the island’s tourism
product tremendously. “May we hope this is the first of a series
of new developmental initiatives to further define and enrich the relationship between Barbados and the People’s Republic of China,” said Stuart.
“It [the hotel] has been targeted to cater to couples as well as to have a special appeal to families as this group usually travels in the summer. This in itself will significantly help our tourism product in the slower summer months as Barbados is striving to become a true year round destination and not just a winter destination as it is traditionally known.” (MM)