Dr. Gonsalves patient over Ottley Hall inquiry
March 18, 2005
Dr. Gonsalves patient over Ottley Hall inquiry

No matter how some persons try to stall the Commission of Inquiry into what transpired at Ottley Hall, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is not worried. He has the patience of Job, and when all the beating about the bush is over, the knitty gritty of the Ottley Hall fiasco will be revealed to the Vincentian public and the world at large. {{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves thinks that the re-election of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) will ensure that the probe into what took place at Ottley Hall proceeds.

Dr. Gonsalves alluded to the issue when he addressed the opening of four Snack Shops at Campden Park Industrial Estate last week Friday.

In his presentation, Dr. Gonsalves skirted the Ottley Hall Marina scenario.

Ottley Hall was one of the most naturally endowed beaches situated about two miles north west of capital City Kingstown.

The area was known as a resort for mainly urban and suburban dwellers. They enjoyed the settings on many a holiday, or any time.

The portion of land adjoining the beach served as recreational zone for sports lovers be it football, cricket, volley ball, or simply enhancing the health outlook with some exercises.

However, in the early 90’s the area was cordoned off and transformed into a supposedly Shipyard and Marina.

Estimated cost of the package was put at $200 million. However, when the project was evaluated, accountants found that it was worth approximately EC $20M.

The Ottley Hall Marina has been the subject of political controversy. The furore was compounded when the coordinators of the Ottley Hall episode, shifted their attention to the Southern Grenadines. There, one of the most blatant and despicable examples of environmental abuse still greets the eye. Another supposedly marina was thrusted upon the nation, and in the process, over $20 million was whisked out of the National Commercial Bank here.

A Commission of Inquiry into that Ottley Hall fiasco began here in 2003. However, there seems to have been spokes in the wheels of that exercise.

Decisions from the British-based Privy Council are eagerly awaited.

Efforts by lawyer Nicole Sylvester, representing two key players in the episode, NCB chairman Richard Joachim, and engineer Glen Stewart, have grounded the inquiry to irregular hearing.

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves urged anti- Inquiry supporters: “go ahead. The courts are there.”

The Prime Minister stated that persons were trying to stall the Inquiry with the hope that “against the run of play they (New Democratic Party) would win the next general election.”

And he was bold enough to say that “if they win, that will be the end of the Ottley Hall inquiry.”

Dr. Gonslaves urged listeners to support the Unity Labour Party. One thing he has in his favour is that no one knows when the election would be called.

“I have not been spoken to as yet,” Dr. Gonsalves declared.

The Unity Labour Party assumed office March 29 after the March 28, 2001 election. ULP won 12 of the 15 seats at stake. The other three were Northern and Southern Grenadines won by Dr. Godwin Friday and Terrance Ollivierre, and opposition leader Arnhim Eustace, the only opposition seat on mainland St. Vincent.

The electoral machinery is gradually being put in gear, which has led persons to speculate on an imminent poll.

Dr. Gonsalves has hinted on taking the NDP into a marathon and at extending the election date into the 90-day period after the sitting of the first Parliament.

Evidence of an impending poll is palpably on the wall, and undoubtedly the election fever is quickly gathering momentum.

A Boundaries Commission Office has been set up in keeping with the constitution, which has increased the argument as to the likelihood of a poll.