(CMC) – The Jamaica-based Sandals Resorts International (SRI) says it has suspended work on its fourth hotel in St. Lucia after having already invested in excess of six million US dollars in design and site preparation.
In a brief statement, the hotel chain said that it had decided to take the action pending the outcome of outstanding legal matters filed by The Landings, an adjoining hotel.
While The Landings has made no public statement on the issue, SRI said that the legal matters were filed shortly after the company broke ground on the Pigeon Island site, north of here in May.
Sandals said that its advice is that the claims by the other hotel are without merit, and it reserves the rights to recover all costs and damages.
But SRI said because of the delay, it has had to “take the difficult decision” to end the employment of 37 people including its projects management team and sub-contractors.
“This, after months of absorbing a significant wage bill with no work being done, and after the company had already invested in excess of six million US dollars in design and site preparation.”
SRI said that the project would have resulted in the employment of more than 1,000 people during construction and create a further 780 highly trained permanent jobs.
“We therefore apologise to the many skilled workers, vendors, suppliers and other stakeholders who will be impacted by the suspension of work.
“This decision was not taken lightly, and we must commend the efforts of the Government as well as other stakeholders for their tremendous support in trying to make this project happen; we could not have asked for anything more.
“We are mindful of the importance of this investment for the people of St.Lucia, both in terms of the economic impact as well as the new jobs that would have been created; and while remobilization of resources from this point on may take months; Sandals Resorts International stands ready to do so once possible,” SRI said.