Commission shocked and surprised at court decision
September 14, 2007

Commission shocked and surprised at court decision

One would have thought that there was a death in the family of a member of the Commission of Enquiry, as Monday’s proceedings into the failed Ottley Hall Marina Project, which were scheduled to take place at the Sunset Shores conference room, failed to get started.{{more}}

The Commission was adhering to an order made by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle to refrain from continuing proceedings into the Project, until further notice.

The sombre mood in the conference room was reflected in the disappointed faces of Commissioner Ephraim Georges and Counsels Anthony Astaphan and Joseph Delves.

Georges, who addressed those assembled, said that there was nothing to be done but await the judge’s decision, which is scheduled to be given today.

“We regrettably have no option at this time but to abide with the judging and consequential order and take it from there.”

Georges added that the Commission will adhere to the ruling out of courtesy to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who had been anticipating the resumption of the hearing and the unfolding of further facts and circumstances surrounding the ill-fated Ottley Hall Project.

Chief Counsel Astaphan, commenting on the order, gave a brief history on the Commission’s attempt to have Sir James Mitchell give testimony.

He indicated that Sir James had been contacted since 2003 to provide a written statement of his involvement in and or knowledge of matters relating to Ottley Hall.

A series of correspondence back and forth has brought the matter to its current position.

Astaphan, fielding questions from reporters, stated that the Commission is regrettably at a loss as to how to proceed, until it hears from Justice Bruce-Lyle today.

He said that at this point, the Commission is in jeopardy, stopping short of saying that it may be at an unexpected end.

With regard to Aldo Rolla, identified as a key player in the Ottley Hall saga, Astaphan stated that, should the enquiry proceed, Rolla, who is not a Vincentian citizen, needs not be present at the Enquiry for recommendations to be made against him.

The Dominican lamented the fact that the Commission was not able to make a presentation to the judge, as they were not aware that a petition had been made until it was too late.

He was, however, content that the judge had not made a decision last Friday. (JJ)