January 29, 2010

Ottley Hall Inquiry extended to July 31

The Commission of Inquiry into the Ottley Hall Marina Project has been extended to July 31, 2010.{{more}}

Since the commencement of the Commission of Inquiry on April 28, 2003, there have been several delays in the sitting of the Commission, due largely to legal challenges in the courts up to the level of the Privy Council.

One such challenge is that being made by former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell.

In 2008, the East Caribbean Court of Appeal granted Sir James leave to apply for judicial review in relation to statements contained in a report which the Commission sent to the Governor General and the Director of Public Prosecutions in November 2005.

As a result, successive extensions of the appointment of retired High Court Judge Ephraim Georges as Commissioner have been granted.

Prior to this extension, there was one on July 27, 2009. Georges had been given until January 31, 2010, to submit his final report.

The Commission of Inquiry, which has been an on again, off again affair, was set up in 2003 to enquire into the failed shipyard project, which in 1996 was valued at just under EC$50 million, but for which the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines owed EC$200 million.

The Ottley Hall Project had been hailed by the Sir James Mitchell administration as one of its flagship tourism projects. The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had guaranteed a loan of EC$135 million made by a German bank West LB to Caribbean Chartered and Yacht Yard Holdings Ltd (CCYY), the company that was developing the project.