Mr. Rodinald Soomer, the Chief Executive Officer, CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) signing the Loan and Grant Agreements for St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) completed the signing of loan and grant agreements totaling US$5.7 million (EC$15.38 million) on December 7, 2020 for the purpose of providing support to the economic diversification thrust of the Government to expand the accommodation sector.
In keeping with one of its key development objectives to promote the tourism sector and capitalize on its investment in the Argyle International Airport (AIA), the Government sought and obtained financial assistance from the CDF in the form of a grant of US$ US$690,986 (EC$1.86 million) and a loan of US$5,009,014 (EC$13.52 million) towards the construction of a 93-room budget hotel which is expected to carry the Holiday Inn Express and Suites brand during its operation. The hotel plant will be sited at Diamond on the south-western side of mainland St. Vincent. This forms part of the Government’s targeted strategic intervention to increase the quantity and quality of hotel accommodation needed to meet the current and future demands of the tourism industry, to drive growth in the sector and deemed critical to ensuring the viability and sustainability of the AIA. The project is consistent with Goal 1 of the National Economic and Social Development Plan of re-engineering economic growth by further enhancing the tourism sector as well as linkages in other sectors, including agriculture and transportation.
This investment is expected to be a significant boon for the local economy and is aligned with the strategic priority of the GOSVG to increase room stock on the island whilst enhancing the attractiveness of the destination to international airlines.
The project is expected to be of 24 months duration and overseen by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Information Technology through a Hotel Project Implementation Unit established for the purpose. On current projection, the hotel is scheduled for completion in December 2021.
The CDF is proud of the relationship it has built with the government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines since the Fund became operational in 2008. The CDF contributed the equivalent of EC$ 20 Million towards construction of the Argyle International Airport and administered a grant in the sum of US$750,000 (EC$2.02 million) provided by the Government of Finland towards the establishment of a solar farm at Argyle for the purpose of reducing the electricity expenses at the AIA. CDF looks forward to a deepening of the relationship with the establishment of the hotel at Diamond and pledges its continued support to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the country strives to improve its economic prospects.
This financial support to St. Vincent and the Grenadines is consistent with the mandate of the CDF as set out in Article 158 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and the Agreement Relating to the Operation of the CARICOM Development Fund, to provide technical and financial assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors participating in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). It is also aligned with one of the CDF’s core thematic funding priorities of providing support for infrastructural development geared to addressing regional disparities.