Photo Credit: Dominica News Online
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit now says work on the problematic Morocco-funded hotel in Portsmouth, will resume after Christmas. He was speaking at a press conference on Friday, on his return from a trip to Morocco and three other countries, in the past two weeks. He said while in Morocco, he met with several Government officials, and discussed matters of interest to Dominica. He now says all of the chinks have now been ironed out, and local contractors have been paid.
Work on the hotel first started in February 2011. In October 2012, Prime Minister Skerrit said the hotel would be completed in October 2013 and “not one day later.” At a press conference in June 2013, Portsmouth MP Ian Douglas said the project was nearing completion, and concentration was then on “electricals, tiling and plumbing.” He also said at that time that five individuals had expressed interest in managing the hotel, since the government has no interest in running it.
In October 2013, then Tourism Minister Ian Douglas said a management team from Bonaire was expected in Dominica. He said and I quote, “to see if we can reach a happy medium in terms of what the Government would want, and what we can expect from them managing the facility.” In November 2013, then Trade Minister Collin McIntyre said Government was still searching for a team to manage the hotel, that it would be opened ‘sometime in 2014’, and Government was “recruiting and training staff for the hotel.”
When construction stopped, Douglas was asked about that at a press conference in May, 2015. He said the project was experiencing “a slight setback” but was still on stream; that a team from Morocco would soon be in Dominica “to deal with issues of décor, fixtures, lighting, tiling & painting.” At the same press conference, PM Skerrit said “the Moroccan Government changed the contractor & architectural team for the project, and they have been “delayed in addressing the replacement.”
Two months later, in July 2015, Douglas blamed ‘administrative changes’ in the Government of Morocco, due to the Arab Spring, for the delays in the construction.
The hotel was originally set to be built in Melville Hall, but was later moved to the Cabrits, on the argument that Portsmouth was more economically viable, and the move was based on ‘sound analysis.’ The hotel has been touted by the DLP Government as a ‘generous gift’ from the Government of Morocco.
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