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Government-built Marriott Hotel is nearing completion and set to open mid next month. It had promisedBharrat Jagdeohundreds of jobs during its construction phase, and later in its operation.But more than three years after the sod-turning in November 2011, there is little evidence of benefits to the country as far as labour is concerned.While Government has announced that it has hired 228 locals for the running of the US$58M hotel,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, it was not until the very end that local help was contracted to correct some works,NFL Jerseys Wholesale, in time for the critical final inspection that will be done by Marriott officials before the facilities are handed over in the coming weeks.During a press conference last week to defend its spending of more than US$36M of taxpayers’ funds, head of the Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI), Winston Brassington, was unable to tell reporters how many locals have been hired during the construction phase. He could not say also how much money was paid out.Questioned about the use of local labour, Brassington said that there was a “significant reduction” in the number of Chinese labour imported by Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), as workers went back home for the New Year celebrations. Just about 30 workers of SCG remained and about 15 more will be returning. In total,Wholesale Adidas Hockey Jerseys, there will be about 100 persons on site with half of these being Guyanese.Brassington admitted that the majority of the workforce on Marriott were Chinese. SCG had also been granted numerous tax breaks that local employers are mandated to pay.In 2013 as questions rose over the glaring absence of local labour,Wholesale Jerseys From China, GovernmentWinston Brassington surveying the Presidential Suite in the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, last week.insisted that the hiring of labour by any particular contractor is one that is ultimately left to the contractor’s discretion.It would have conflicted to the promised hundreds of jobs being created.A mixture of union representatives, political parties and other activists had protested in front of the construction site on news that only Chinese labour was being used.Brassington had said that the use of an all Chinese labour force to construct the multi-million-dollar Marriott Hotel was just one of several conditionalities necessary for the facility’s efficient and speedy construction.He also said that the lack of local skills and communication problems were the reasons why the contractor, SCG, decided to bring in Chinese workers.That particular statement had immediately triggered criticism, especially as SCG had not publicly said that there was a shortage of skills. There were no advertisements in the local newspapers.The ocean-front side of Marriott.Labour Minister, Dr. Nanda Gopaul, defending the decision of foreign workers, said that the contractor was using “highly technical and advanced construction methods” and that it would be some time before Guyanese workers would learn these.Government spokesman Dr. Roger Luncheon,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, questioned in 2013, said that the issue of an all-Chinese labour force was not discussed with the government. He said that the government became aware when it was asked to process the applications for work permits and visas.He noted that it is “reasonable” that most contractors would go for a labour force with which they are familiar. The fact that SCG opted to use Chinese workers came as no surprise to government, he said.In defending SCG’s decision to hire Chinese nationals, Brassington said that the company indicated that “(it) had examined the level of skills available for the project as well as the levels of productivity.”Brassington added that while the company was being asked to employ locals, it was obvious that if the construction of the flagship hotel was to be completed within the specified time, there must be the flexibility of the input.The use of local labour would be significant going by Government’s figures. An estimated US$20M would be pocketed by SCG for the hotel’s construction.Under the controversial financial arrangements, Guyana would receive the least amount of dividends when the time comes to split the profit.On top of this was the recent disclosure that Government spent, in addition to US$20M,Cheap NFL Jerseys, another US$16M after a court case blocked two sets of investors from plugging in their share of the US$35M needed.Only US$15M has been forthcoming so far from Republic Bank, from which a mortgage has been sought.The project has been under fire not only because the arrangements have been shrouded in secrecy, but because Government used billions of taxpayers’ dollars without Parliament’s approval and oversight.
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