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Lampkin’s money still on ice

Lampkin’s money still on ice

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“I just want what I am owed. I don’t mind if I do not work for them ever again.”

Those were the words of frustrated businessman, contractor Paul Lampkin, who claims that the Buccament Bay Beach Resort owes him about $80,000.{{more}}

Lampkin, whose company did roof work on the resort for about a year and a half, claims that an agreement reached between him and the resort’s contractor has fallen through.

Lampkin was one of the many local businessmen who were owed approximately $6 million for work done on the resort.

Work on the resort came to a screeching halt in May last year amidst talk of a fallout between the developers of the resort, Harlequin Hotel and Resorts and their contractor Ridgeview Construction.

Ridgeview was eventually fired and replaced by the St Lucia based International Construction & Engineering (ICE).

Last August, representatives of ICE organized a series of meetings with the local suppliers and gave the assurance that they would all be paid by the end of the year.

In SEARCHLIGHT’s presence, Paudie O’ Halloran of ICE, in a meeting held in one of the resort’s bungalows, passionately declared: “The project will be built. You will be paid.”

He told the businessmen that their money will be paid in three installments starting from September.

Since then, the majority of the businessmen have indeed been paid.

However, SEARCHLIGHT knows of at least one businessman who claims that he was owed over $1 million and has not received any payments.

The contractor has argued that they are investigating what they believed to be discrepancies with this businessman’s account.

Lampkin, however, is one of the other businessmen who started to receive the promised installments.

But he said that the last two installments of $39,741 he received were paid in October and since then, he has only been getting the runaround.

“I am worried. I can’t pay my bills. I owe two banks and I owe some of my workmen,” Lampkin said.

Lampkin told SEARCHLIGHT that he spoke to an executive of the project who told him that “as far as he knows everyone got paid.”

Lampkin said that he was willing to be patient, but now his financial situation demands that he takes action.

“I am very supportive of the Buccament project but I need to be paid,” Lampkin said.

He said that he recently went to the site to speak to the manager and was told: “He can’t be seen.”

Lampkin also called one of the executives of ICE who informed him that they were waiting on money to come from England before be could get paid.

The irate Belair businessman said that now “It’s a matter of not being able to trust them.”

SEARCHLIGHT contacted ICE’s Chief Financial Officer Mark Coggle earlier this week.

Coggle who was overseas, said that he will “have to have a talk” when he comes back to St Vincent.

“He has had a lot of money paid to him already,” was Coggle’s response to Lampkin’s plight.

The Buccament project is a major, direct foreign investment tourism project, which is expected to provide employment for approximately 1,500 persons when fully operational. (KJ)

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