Hotelier and owner of AAA Five Diamond awarded Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston Hopkin has made a plea for equality across the board from government in granting incentives for hoteliers on the island.
He made the statement in the presence of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell at a function held to celebrate Spice’s receiving the award for its AAA Five Diamond status.
He suggested that what one hotelier is getting for 300 rooms in incentives should be given to anyone who has 20 rooms.
“I am where I am because I have been able to come out of the box because we are up on an economic level where I have had to jump and keep going”, he said.
“The man that is in the middle of the road as a Grenadian has no opportunity here to go forward (with) the imbalance of the legislation,” he added.
Looking in the direction of PM Mitchell, the island’s most decorated hotelier said he knows that the Grenadian leader is constrained under the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the Structural Adjustment Programme.
However, he called on the Prime Minister to do something to change the incentives legislation in order for each hotelier to benefit.
“Prime Minister, I know your philosophy but I also happen to know the IMF philosophy, they have you over barrel now because you inherited a basket. You have to come out of that box and the legislation which they have forced you to pass, I am challenging you that you have to go back to parliament and get real,” Sir Royston said.
“I know you under the grapes, you’re coming out soon but you have to address it and I am prepared to sit, advise, counsel. It’s not about Royston Hopkin, it’s about all my fellow hoteliers who just cannot come out of the morass of their debt…”, he added.
According to the hotel owner, there must be changes to the legislation, in order for any hotelier to be able to compete in the industry.
“Remember and you and I know that these fellas (IMF officials) have never sold a pound of sugar in their life to make a profit and I know that is not your DNA.
He said because of the programme of incentives for hoteliers, a lot of them are in debt and have no effective way of getting out of it.
“…The proof of this is in Grenada …. all local entrepreneurs still have enormous debts and cannot come out”, he added.
He advocated the need for “continuous incentives” for hoteliers in light of the fact that the existing legislation are putting many hoteliers at a disadvantage.
Sources close to Sir Royston have said that he is not supportive of the legislation which gives hoteliers a specific time frame for their incentives.
“What he would like to see is that a hotelier is given incentives to change things in the hotel as is needed. If the thing that is changed is done within the time frame then the persons can sell-off the item and give the government some of the money in the form of taxes”, said the source.
“He doesn’t believe that you should have to wait until the time given is up and then you have to go back and seek more incentives. It should be continuous because in the hotel industry things are always happening .. nothing remains one way forever”, he added.