October 7, 2016
No one expressed interest in bidding for Cobblestone

No one, not even the present operator of the Cobblestone Inn Hotel, responded to the invitation from the National Properties Ltd (NPL) for persons to express an interest in leasing the property to operate and manage it.

In our Midweek edition of Ocober 4, SEARCHLIGHT reported that following the publication on July 29 of the “Invitation for Expressions of Interest” by the NPL, Ann Joshua, the present operator, was the only person to have submitted an Expression of Interest.{{more}}

However Joshua told SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday that she did not respond to the invitation.

“Why would I express an interest in operating my own hotel?” she quipped.

Joshua however confirmed that she had signed a new five year lease with the NPL, but declined to comment further, saying she would do so at a later date.

At a press conference on Tuesday at Cabinet Room, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said he had been informed by the Chairman of the NPL that Joshua had signed the new lease agreement for five years at $24,000 a month.

Gonsalves said the present arrangement was better for both the NPL and Joshua as she was no longer on a month to month arrangement.

“National Properties has a tenant who is there for five years, not month to month. So National Properties is protected, she also is protected; within the terms of a lease, of course there are conditions for the termination of the lease,” he noted.

Joshua, who has been operating the hotel for the last 30 years, had, on July 12, 2016, been served with a ‘Notice To Quit’ by lawyer Grahame Bollers, solicitor for NPL. She had been given until September 30, 2016 to hand over the premises.

In July, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves had said that the Government had decided that, in the interest of transparency and proper development of that property and other government property, there should be an open tendering process for the Cobblestone Inn, but first, the relationship with Joshua must be ended legally.