Swedish developers denied
Swedish development company Zublin says it is disappointed over the government's decision not to give its multimillion-dollar tourism project the green light.
Zublin, whose project included a four-star hotel and casino, received official communication from the two-year-old Tillman Thomas administration denying permission to proceed with the EC$450 million (US$168 million) development.
"Zublin Grenada Limited is disappointed at the formal response by government to the St George's Renaissance Project," the company said in a statement, adding that it was also concerned about the implications for Grenada's ability to sustain its cruise-tourism market since the proposed project also included a new jetty and a tourism-entertainment area.
"Zublin is disappointed that this position was taken without any consultations during the last 10 months, and before more in-depth study of the project was done as was recommended by the Cabinet-appointed committee," it added.
In a local television interview, Prime Minister Thomas said the proposal was not "properly balanced," adding that the "public part of the financing of the project" was a "weakness" in the plan.
"There are lots of aspects of the projects to be looked at," he said.
However, the company which currently operates a cruise-ship terminal in St George's, has disputed the prime minister's statement as "not accurate".
"Zublin also finds these statements not timely since the recommended further research should include not only detailed engineering studies and the undertaking of an environmental and socio-economic assessment study, but also and more in particular, detailed financial studies for the public part," the company said.
"It should be noted that Zublin recommended to the committee, and to the Cabinet in September 2009, that the public part should be financed through a joint effort of government and Zublin to raise the public funding through European Union grants and not focus on increasing debt."
The casino gambling aspect of the project has been a subject of an ongoing national debate with Prime Minister Thomas consistently voicing his disapproval in public.