Prime Minister Mia Mottley tonight sought to further clarify Government’s position on the multi-million dollar Sandals Beaches project earmarked for Heywoods, St Peter.
As she capped debate in the House of Assembly on the 2019 budget, the Prime Minister responded to Sandals officials who had denied Mottley’s previous assertions that the hotel chain sought excessive and unprecedented concessions, including indemnification against tax advantages granted future hotel developers.
The Prime Minister, who also holds the finance, economic affairs and investment portfolios, explained that the current administration stand by what was agreed to by the previous Democratic Labour Party administration.
Mottley told the House: “If you are simply asking for what was promised then there is no issue. I have stood here and I have stood elsewhere and said that the Government of Barbados remains committed to the two agreements signed by the previous Minister of Finance, we don’t like what he did, we abhor what he did, but by the rule of law, by a country governed by the rule of law that we stand by it.”
Mottley said Government had laid the agreements in the House and also completed the town planning process “as we were committed to do under law. But what we can’t do is to close these ‘two critical gaps”.
While admitting that she welcomes the project which is likely to employ up to 1,800 from start to finish, the PM made it clear that it could not come at any cost.
She said: “Barbados welcomes Beaches but it can’t be at any price. I hope that we can find an understanding because the truth is that we are not in any way anti-investment but there is a national interest to be protected here for the people of this country and that is why we relented.”