By Mr. Lloyd Noel (Attorney-at-law)
IN OUR Tri-Island State, since February 7, 1974 - we are supposed to be operating the business of the people under a Democratic System of Government. And our Model for so doing was derived from the tried and tested, and found to be the above reproach System that obtains in England as the Westminster Model.
And as it has been described by the Chairperson of Transparency International who hails from another Colonial background that gained its Independence from England, and also adopted the Democratic System of Government, i.e. Canada, ... “Democracy is not a luxury or an issue of ideology; it is a fundamental precondition for social and economic development.”
And because the System is supposed to operate, on the principle of the majority in a democratic State controlling the reins of power and authority
over the public affairs of the Nation-State, one would have thought that the same majority will be the major beneficiaries in the System.
But in gross violation of the very principles that give the System its life-blood, as it were, the majority are used and manipulated every Five
years or so, to give the Rulers legitimacy, and before the ink is dried on the Oaths of Office the winners in the Election race have signed - the
Minority are the ones who begin and or continue to benefit both socially and economically; while the majority get poorer and poorer, even when the
infrastructure and the physical layout looks very prosperous.
In my view, that is not because of the flaws or other short-comings of the System of democracy itself - but because of those who gain the power and
authority from the majority votes, and then turn around and abuse and mis-use that power, and make a mockery of the Oaths of Office they took to
And what is even more disturbing and humiliating - is that the very few who got onto the Seats of power by the votes of the masses, they do not often
times even behave as if they regard the very masses as having any common sense, to see through their schemes and the absence of Accountability and
As we come to the end of another year, in which very questionable schemes, and in-explicable and un-accounted for actions and decisions, and in too
many cases total darkness covering and surrounding Government’s action and policy decisions - we have yet another decision involving the people’s
assets, that is screaming out to the financial gods for answers and explanations to the people. You decide.
During the past three months or so we got the breaking news from the Ministry of Tourism that a new Developer, a Mr. De Savary, had finalised all
arrangements with Government, to develop the Yacht basin area adjoining Ballast Ground and Lagoon Road in St. George’s, and the former Santa Maria
Cum Islander Hotel, on the Hilltop overlooking Ballast Ground, which was last used as the Prime Minister’s Head quarters during the PRG Reign of
March 1979 to October, 1983.
The building was bombed during the U.S. and Caribbean Forces Intervention/Rescue Mission on the 25th October, 1983. The new group is named Port Louis Land Limited and is registered here as a Grenadian Company.
The development of the Yacht Basin and the building of a new Hotel on the old site, among other plans, were all stated to cost about $1.6 Billion U.S.
and will take about Six years to complete.
By any criteria that was good news for our drowning economy, and when the work actually started on the site it was even better news, as compared with
the bramble Government got from Kozeny, the “Pirate of Prague,” who flashed his private Jet to fly the Prime Minister on some special trips and then
Having heard and seen the above, I recently obtained copies of two documents that have been signed by the interested parties touching and concerning the lands at Ballast Ground. Both documents are dated the 5th October, 2006.The first one, which seems to be the forerunner of the other one, was headed as “This Deed” and was made Between “Poole Capital S.A.” of Road Town in Tortola, BVI, “Poole Capital S.A. Limited” - a Grenadian Company with its
registered office situate at Lucas Street in St. George’s, and The Government of Grenada.”
That document was made by Solicitors in London and on the face of it does not appear to be recorded in the Deeds and Land Registry in Grenada.It was executed (signed) by the local Directors and Secretary of both the BVI and the Grenadian Company - on behalf of those Companies; and by
Minister Boatswain as the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Grenada.
That “DEED” was for Releasing the Companies and the Government from the terms and conditions of an Agreement signed by “Poole” and the Government
and dated 20th September, 2002.
And that Agreement was for the acquisition and development of the “Port George Project,” which comprises the Ballast Ground lands and the Yacht
Basin area in St. George’s.
As far as is known nothing was done about that Project for three years. Then on the 16th September, 2005, “Poole” and the Government signed an
“Addendum” to the Agreement (additional terms) to vary and amend the original terms and conditions of the 2002 Agreement.
The Agreement and the Addendum were not attached to “The DEED” of 5th October, 2006, but the stated purpose of the Deed was to RELEASE both The
Government and Poole from further obligations under the Agreement and The Addendum.
The “DEED” disclosed that “Poole Capital S.A. Limited,” as the “Financing Company,” had advanced the purchase price of U.S. $3.2 Millions for the
Project lands, together with the sum of U.S. $425,000.00 to be made available by “Poole” as a contribution towards the cost of relocation of the
So the Government released “Poole” and “Poole” released The Government from any and all future or further obligations under the Agreement and the
But interestingly, “Poole” also released the Government from “any obligation to repay to Poole and the Financing Company monies paid by Poole
and/or the Financing Company under the Agreement, being the sum of U.S. $2.8 Millions together with the sum of U.S.$825,000.00 which was deposited with
Price Water House Coopers in accordance with Annex C of the Agreement.” And “Poole” also undertook to transfer forthwith the benefit of the said
sum of U.S.$825,000.00 to “Port Louis Land Limited.” That was the end of the “Mutual DEED OF RELEASE relating to The Port George Project.”
Not having seen the Agreement nor the Addendum between “Poole” and the Government, I do not know what areas of land were meant to be sold for the
U.S.$3.6 Millions that “Poole” paid to the Government.
However, the other document referred to above is an Indenture of Conveyance, Between the Government of Grenada and “Port Louis Land Limited” - it is dated 5th October, 2006, and recorded in the Deeds and Land Registry in Liber 40-2006 at page 749 - a public document.
That Indenture Conveyed two parcels of land in the Ballast Ground area to Port Louis Land Limited. The parcels are described as “Lot A” which is 22.77
Acres, and “Lot B” which is 1.144 Acres - (a total of about 24 Acres) and the price for those Acres is ONE DOLLAR EASTERN CARIBBEAN CURRENCY (E.C. $1.00).
That Indenture of Conveyance also recites the Deed of Release between “Poole” and The Government, and repeats the Release to the Government of any
obligation to repay “Poole” the purchase price under the Agreement and Addendum.
The Conveyance also recites the Release of all rights held by “Poole,” and states that the said Release is in exchange for the execution by the
Government of Grenada of a new agreement between the Government, Port Louis Land Limited and its affiliate Company “Port Louis Trading Limited” - “for the purchase and development of the said two lots and other additional properties on similar terms as that between “Poole” and the Government in
consideration of the nominal payment therefor.”
The Plan attached to the Indenture of Conveyance shows Five (5) lots of Crown Lands - the two lots “A & B” conveyed in that Indenture and two other
lots “C & D” of about Six Acres, and “Lot E” which is The Lagoon Area of 26.233 Acres.
And during the ground breaking ceremony, it was disclosed that the Lagoon Area is part of the Development and is expected to be the best of its kind when completed.
From the above facts and figures, a whole range of questions immediately come to the forefront for answers, by the Government to the people of
Grenada about the people’s assets; and maybe by “Port Louis Trading or Land Limited” to clear the air.
For the time being the people are entitled to know, for example:-How much money was paid by “Poole” to the Government of Grenada under the 2002 Agreement? How and where were those monies Accounted for?
How much Port Louis Land Limited really paid to Government, or to Poole? Surely not $1.00 E.C.?
Why is the nominal price quoted, when the real price would have attracted the 5% Land Transfer Tax that everyone else has to pay for Property priced
above E.C. $20,000.00? How much money are the people of Grenada, benefitting from the entire transaction? Why all the secrecy and protection?
The absence of above board disclosure and transparency - leave endless room for suspicion and speculation; and the business of the people in a Democracy like ours is supposed to be, Must not be seen to be operating like this.As we go into a new year, with so many things on the horizon, we need to
start that year on a much better footing - to try and restore some measure of confidence in our public life.