The construction of the Argyle International Airport continues to open pathways for business and investment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. At a press conference on Tuesday, June 21, Prime Minister Dr Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Invest SVG, Mrs Bernadette Ambrose-Black, and representatives from National Properties Limited hosted Trinidadian investor, Mr Derek Chin to continue talks about the proposed new city at the site of E.T. Joshua Airport upon completion of the Argyle International Airport.
Also in attendance was the technical team from China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC), who is collaborating with Mr Derek Chin to construct two MovieTowne entertainment centres in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, respectively. In light of this, CHEC’s technical team will begin talks with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority on the proposed modernization of the Kingstown deep water harbour.
Prime Minister, Dr Hon. Ralph Gonsalves met with Mr Derek Chin and representatives from CHEC at Cabinet room. According to Prime Minister Gonsalves, the Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mr Derek Chin and he wanted him to share “some of his ideas in respect of the MOU” although “there has not been yet a fully hammered out agreement”.
In his introduction Mr Derek Chin, who became popular after creating the MovieTowne chain of entertainment centres in Trinidad and Tobago said MovieTowne developed from an idea he had to see a higher quality of entertainment and recreation in his country; this idea has grown to three MovieTowne entertainment centres in Trinidad and Tobago.
Chin admitted that his plans for the proposed new city at Arnos Vale are still in the preliminary stages. These plans, explained Chin, will be determined by the land space and other technical assessments. He disclosed that the possibility exists for a wholesale store, restaurant, conference, cinema, and shopping mall, among others. The Trinidadian investor noted that the new entertainment centre will have a Vincentian identity, offer high-quality entertainment and amenities, and will be family friendly.
In reference to Invest SVG’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs Bernadette Ambrose-Black, he stated “Bernadette has been very hard working. She is very persistent. I appreciate that and l like that. I told her at the end of the day, we are going to do something. We are nowhere to put that together and see whether we can make it happen, probably next year”.
Invest SVG’s CEO, Bernadette Ambrose-Black, explained that when she joined the company in 2013, she conducted a “needs assessment not just of the organisation but also of the island itself and what we can bring to the island to enhance the livelihood of Vincentians”. Born in Trinidad and Tobago but of Vincentian descent, Ambrose-Back said she was familiar with MovieTowne and “felt that MovieTowne would be an appropriate development for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
After conducting the needs assessment, she met with Mr Chin a year later. The initial meeting stated Ambrose-Black “was a fruitful one and I asked the Hon. Prime Minister if he would consider meeting with Mr Chin himself and that began the courtship of MovieTowne and the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”. To this end, the Invest SVG’s CEO is “very positive about this investment. Mr Chin is a credible investor. His track record speaks for itself”.
Ambrose-Black stated she looks forward to the enhancement of the socio-economic well-being of Vincentians and that the investment will generate employment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She added that “it is something that is needed here and I think it will aptly compliment the opening of Argyle International Airport”.
As Mr Derek Chin has a partnership with the CHEC and the Government is discussing plans for the new Kingstown harbour, Business Manager of the CHEC Guyana Branch, Mr Xiaoshuai (Peter) Sun, introduced the company. According to Sun, CHEC is a “wholly state-owned company by the People’s Republic of China” with “more than 70 branches all over the world”.
In the Caribbean, CHEC has projects in Guyana, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Colombia, explained Sun. “We are looking forward to finding out what we can do here”, stated Sun. In his concluding remarks, the Business Manager of CHEC said, “we want to do something here in this country to help the local people and to provide infrastructure development as well”.