The Government “has got to come clean about what is going on” with the Park Hyatt project, Shadow Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell said.
The construction was supposed to have started some time ago, with initial press statements on the matter stating the resort was scheduled to open in 2012.
Last week Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert told ZBM the agreement with Park Haytt was “terminated,” later saying he “misspoke” and what he meant to say was that the “time period for the agreement has expired and that the agreement has lapsed.”
A few days after that, the developer Carl Bazarian told The Royal Gazette that construction on the new Park Hyatt resort could begin by the end of the year, and the hotel could be open by early 2015.
Mr Crockwell said: “Bermudians, especially the people of St. George’s, can be forgiven for being confused about the status of the Park Hyatt project. First it’s on, then it’s off, then it’s on, then Minister Furbert says it’s off, then he says it’s on.
“This week, we hear the developer announce a scaled down plan for the hotel that could start construction before the year’s end, depending on what was reported as a ‘renewed commitment’ to the project – all this without any comment from the Government and with a Tourism Minister nowhere to be seen.
“What is going on? The Government, when asked for comment, says ‘No comment.’ The Government has got to come clean about what is going on. Does it support the project in light of its failure to start construction on time?
Is its agreement with the developer still in force? Is it prepared to extend deadlines? Does it support the scaled down project as indicated by the developer? Where is the Minister to answer these basic questions?
“The last thing Bermuda needs on this project is more questions and doubts and more rounds of promises, this time about a hotel ‘open and running by early 2015,” concluded Mr Crockwell.
When asked to comment the Tourism Ministry declined, however a PLP spokesperson said: “While the OBA is busy playing politics and trying to grab headlines, the Minister of Business Development and Tourism is in Toronto working to bring new investment and new jobs to Bermuda, making the most of the new tax agreement negotiated by the PLP Government.
“Whether the Minister is on island or not, he and the PLP Government remain fully committed to a hotel in St. George, as has been stated many times before.
“Instead of seeking ink on a page by sending releases to the press, the party of no ideas and no solutions should answer the one question our party will continue to ask: What cuts will the OBA’s austerity plan bring to Bermuda?
“We’ve already found out that they want to eliminate grants to businesses in the EEZ. What else will they cut? We in the PLP believe that Bermudians should know what programs the OBA would cut, what services the OBA would eliminate, and what benefits the OBA would reduce.”
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