June 23, 2015
Ottley Hall Marina leased to private investors – PM Gonsalves

The Ottley Hall Marina has been leased to investors.

This was announced last week by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, as he addressed a press conference.

“Cabinet approved, under my recommendation, an agreement which has been worked out between some investors, some local and foreign, some overseas, for the lease of the Ottley Hall Marina.{{more}}

“Cabinet approved in principle, that they wanted to have a list of the equipment that is currently there. We have to preserve, improve this place and prevent its decline,” Gonsalves told reporters.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace had recently expressed disappointment that the Government was placing in the hands of private investors a project which had been forgiven debt of $165 million.

“To me, this should be an open and shut case. If you or the Government or the Cabinet has taken a decision to lease, say what it’s leased for, so people can make a judgment of the suitability of the lease. What is the benefit to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines?” Eustace, President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) had questioned.

The Ottley Hall Marina had been, for several years, the subject of an inquiry initiated by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration, of which Gonsalves is Prime Minister. The inquiry had been at a standstill for several years while an appeal filed by former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell wound its way through the court system, all the way to the London-based Privy Council. In December 2014, the Privy Council ruled in favour of Sir James, saying that there was a “real possibility” of bias on the part of the Commissioner of the Ottley Hall Commission of Inquiry and that the Commissioner should take no further part in the inquiry and that Mitchell’s costs should be paid.

The Commission of Inquiry was set up in 2003 to inquire into the reason or reasons for the failure of the project and the person or persons responsible and/or the degree of responsibility, if any, for that failure. The inquiry came to a standstill in 2007, when Georges issued an interim report and called on Sir James to appear before the Commission as a witness.(KW)