Ottley Hall debt is finally settled
April 5, 2007
Ottley Hall debt is finally settled

The Ottley Hall debt is no more – It would be, once Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves secures and pays US$6 million by June 30, according to the settlement reached with the Italian state agency, SACE.

Last week, Dr Gonsalves signed the agreement with SACE’s Head of Claims and Recovery Division, Micheal Ron.{{more}}

After briefly recapping the history of the failed investment between the Sir James Mitchell led Government and Italian businessman Dr Aldo Rolla which left St Vincent and the Grenadines in debt of about US$70 million, Dr Gonsalves said that he was glad it was finally coming to an end.

Dr Gonsalves reiterated the position he took when his Government came to office in 2001.

“A payment was due in June (2001) but I said that it was not going to be paid until a compromised arrangement was made,” explained Dr Gonsalves.

He said that ever since that stance was taken, he had been in ongoing negotiations with SACE, and was glad to see that in the end all worked out well – a debt forgiveness of EC $150 million was secured.

Dr Gonsalves explained that while the arrangements between SACE and St Vincent and the Grenadines are in order, SACE and West LB the German Bank which holds the mortgage on the Ottley Hall property are still fine tuning their end of the agreement.

He said that he isn’t sure what will be done with the Ottley Hall property but a decision will be made by June when all matters are expected to be finalized.

For her part Micheal Ron said that SACE was glad to put this old situation behind and look to secure new possibilities for investment in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“A drawn out legal battle would have only brought money into the pockets of the lawyers,” said Ron.