Consultant forms networking group of 20 companies to target region where it estimates GDP will grow 1.5% in 2010

Rider Levett Bucknall has launched a business association in the Caribbean to encourage trade between the UK and local organisations. The cost and construction consultant has formed the “Caribbean Intelligence”, a group of 20 companies which will promote networking.

RLB is targeting the region because it estimates that although its GDP fell 0.2% this year, it will bounce back in 2010, growing 1.5%. Some 105 hotel projects are under development in the Caribbean, according to RLB’s research. Of these, 54 are under construction and 51 will be delayed until the economic situation improves.

The networking initiative is being led by Rider Levett Bucknall UK-based managing partner Mark Williamson and Martyn Bould, chair of the consultant’s Caribbean headquarters in the Cayman Islands.

Williamson said: “Despite the current difficult market conditions, which have not evaded the Caribbean economy, the pipeline of opportunities between the UK and RLB’s global property and construction sector and the Caribbean are strong.

“We offer support to those already working in these areas and will provide up-to-the-minute Caribbean market information to assist our worldwide client base.”

Rider Levett Bucknall’s Caribbean projects include the Jalousie Enclave, a luxury destination on a Word Heritage site in St Lucia, the Monte Barreto resort in Havana Cuba, the 1,000 room Buccament Bay resort in St Vincent and Beachlands, a residential complex on the Barbados gold coast. It recently completed work on a cruise ship pier in St Maarten.

The firm has offices in Barbados, the Cayman Islands and St Lucia.