Saturday 22 February, 2020

Ministry: $7.6M Hilton pool upgrade not funded by PSIP

The Ministry of Trade and Industry on Wednesday provided clarity on where the money came from for the controversial $7.6 million Hilton pool and deck upgrade.

In a statement, it said the money did not come from the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) but was funded by state-owned company, e TecK.

The Ministry explained that e TecK which is contractually responsible for funding building and like renovation activities commenced pool and deck works in July 2017 as part of a wider phased Capital Upgrade Programme for Hilton Trinidad.

It said the decade-long upgrade programme sought to maintain the hotel’s position as a premier venue for major conferences, business meetings, international functions and premium events with ongoing renovations and asset improvements continuously effected by the contracted parties under existing contractual arrangements.

“The expenditure of $7.6m to rebuild and furnish the Hilton Pool and Pool Deck was internally funded by e TecK and not funded by Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) resources that are usually allocated by Government to State Enterprises to finance their budgets,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry sought to clarify."

It said the works sought to address severely ageing infrastructure including cracks and leaks in the pool, structural failures on the deck, poor drainage and corroded plumbing.

The Trade and Industry Ministry also added that the new 2500 square feet pool and 15,000 square feet deck have an overall design life of 20 years once maintained.

It said the pool works executed at the hotel will positively impact foreign exchange inflows.

The Ministry added that tourism sector is the most vibrant services segment and it is in the interest of the country to ensure infrastructure exists to bolster the economy.

“This Administration is therefore committed to infrastructure development and assisting in improving the current stock in support of future economic activity. The Government recognising the value of the foreign exchange inflows continues to invest in upgrades at its income generating assets including the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre in anticipation of a recovering tourism services sector in keeping with international trends,” it said.

On Wednesday, Oropouche West MP criticized the $7.6-million pool upgrade. 

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