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Invaders Bay investors seek local partners
Foreign investors rejected by the Government in the development of Invaders Bay are undaunted and are now soliciting the support of the local business community. And they seem to have won the support of the T&T Manufacturers Association (TTMA). TTMA president Dominic Hadeed has been approached by Falcon Group Ltd which is seeking his expertise to help provide them with local partners or local content for a second shot at Invaders Bay.
Hadeed, noting that the concept of medical tourism is a “fantastic one” for diversification in an economic slump, told the T&T Guardian it was “inappropriate” for the Government to turn down the foreign proposals on the basis that no local partners were involved in their plans. “I don’t know if they were disqualified for any other reason, but the perception is that it was because there was no local participation,” he said.
“If that is the case, our existing law does not say that a foreign investor needs local content for a project.” Hadeed said the TTMA is pushing for local content in proposed procurement legislation. Falcon, an all-foreign group of international investors, submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Planning for the development of a medical tourism facility at Invaders Bay.
The group was one of three initially selected for consideration. However, Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie announced last Thursday that only two local companies were selected. Falcon officials said they heard from Government sources they were left out because they refused to have local partners.
Refusing to give up after four years of trying to get a piece of the Invaders Bay pie, the group has decided to look for suitable local partners through the help of the TTMA, Republic Bank and the T&T Chamber of Commerce. Hadeed said Falcon has asked for discussions with local contractors and suppliers and may choose to partner with somebody. “I got a phone call saying they wanted to meet with the TTMA,” he said.
He said from what the TTMA sees, Falcon’s project seems worthwhile for T&T. “The University of Miami’s business aspect (the Miller School of Medicine’s Cancer Centre) seems sound.” Hadeed said medical tourism is almost foolproof in a recession. “Recession or not, people have to take care of themselves,” he said.
“I think it’s good for the country. We will benefit in multiple ways. If they use local contractors, money in construction will generate income and taxes. The country will benefit from training from the University of Miami. People will be flying in for treatment at the cancer centre and hotels will benefit.” As for local companies which got government approval for Invaders Bay, Hadeed was also happy.
He said MovieTowne’s Derek Chin’s Streets of the World project and Jerry Joseph’s proposal for a cruise ship terminal are good ones. He said he saw nothing illegal in the Government leasing land for the projects since it is not a case of a Government project being put out for tender. The Joint Consultative Council has declared it is illegal for even Requests for Proposals for Invaders Bay to come from a government ministry.
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