By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia — Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has suspended construction work on what was to be its fourth hotel in Saint Lucia, pending the outcome of outstanding legal issues filed by an adjacent property, The Landings, through its attorneys Peter Foster and Associates.
These matters were filed shortly after the company broke ground on the Pigeon Island site in May and relate to alleged boundary encroachment and beach access.
“Our advice is that the claims are without merit and the company reserves its rights to recover all costs and damages,” SRI said in a press statement.
Because of delays caused by having to address this legal action, SRI said has had to take the difficult decision to end the employment of its project management team and sub-contractors (comprising some 37 persons) who were already engaged on the site. This, after months of absorbing a significant wage bill with no work being done, and after the company had already invested in excess of US$6 million in design and site preparation.
This project was to have employed over 1,000 persons 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. We are mindful of the importance of this investment for the people of Saint 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 added.