November 23, 2007
Ottley Hall Marina debt settled

The Italian State Agency SACE has received the agreed payment of US $6 million (EC$16.2 million) from the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to settle the Ottley Hall Marina debt of EC $175 million.{{more}}

In a faxed letter to Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves dated November 19, 2007, SACE’s Head of Claims and International Agreements Michal Ron states that she is “pleased to confirm receipt of the agreed payment which was received from St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the 15th November 2007.”

“I wish to personally thank you for the commitment demonstrated in order to finalise and execute the terms of the Settlement Agreement between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and SACE”, Ron further states.

Ron also notes that that she looks forward to “new transactions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with the potential involvement of Italian exporters and hence with SACE’s support.”

The outstanding loan on the Ottley Hall Marina Project borrowed by the New Democratic Party Government from a consortium of European banks stood at EC$175 million. This saving of some EC$159 million is a result of over six years of negotiations by Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves and Director General of Finance and Planning Maurice Edwards with SACE and the banks.

When the Unity Labour Party came to power in March 2001 Prime Minister Gonsalves made it clear that he would be addressing the issue of the Ottley Hall loan which stood at close to $200 million since the project itself was valued at between US $5 and $10 million.

The government then took the decision to defer the payments on the loan and also set up a Commission of Inquiry into the project.

Prime Minister Gonsalves says now that SACE has received the agreed payment government will be “putting all systems in place” to salvage the project.