The Grenadian by Rex Resorts in Grenada
By Caribbean News Now contributor
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday
that Rex Resorts “be permitted to continue to remain in possession of and to continue to operate the hotel known as the Grenadian by Rex Resorts.”
The government of Grenada has been trying to enforce a compulsory purchase order in respect of the property in circumstances that have raised a number of questions locally concerning its motives.
A legal challenge to the government’s first attempt was upheld by the court last year, with an oral decision handed down just before Christmas that essentially said the government erred in the compulsory acquisition process, but was given leave to start the procedure over again, which it has done.
However, Justice of Appeal Davidson Kelvin Baptiste has now ordered
, in part, the following:
“An interim conservatory order is hereby granted directing that the applicant [Rex Resorts] be permitted to continue to remain in possession of and to continue to operate the hotel known as the Grenadian by Rex Resorts, which the applicant built and owns, until the hearing and determination of the applicant’s appeal against the decision of Adrien-Roberts J delivered on 20th December 2016.”
Baptiste went on to state that “[Rex Resorts] quite legitimately complains about the extraordinary haste with which the [government] have acted in issuing the notices of declaration of acquisition of the land after the judgement of Adrien-Roberts J. The [government] acted with such expedition that in a mere ten days after the judgement, they provided themselves with a platform for arguing that as a matter of law the land now vests absolutely in them.”
Responding to this order, Rex Resorts CEO Richard Bryson issued the following statement:
“Rex Resorts is happy that the court of appeal issued this conservatory order. this judgment states very clearly that government acted with extraordinary haste and that Rex Resorts’ rights under the constitution of Grenada must not be ignored. We are eager to resolve this matter and to move forward with executing the property enhancement plans we’ve outlined to government.”
Last month, Grenada’s minister for health, social security and international business Nickolas Steele was accused of making misleading public statements pertaining to the Grenadian by Rex Resorts and the requirements outlined in the 99-year lease with the government.
According to local sources, a private Canadian company, Sunwing Travel Group, the largest integrated travel company in North America, which is partially owned by a publically traded German company (TUI Group) is working with the government of Grenada to seize the fully operating hotel.
This has raised a number of questions locally. First, the cash-strapped government, as the acquirer of land, would be responsible for fair compensation if it is successful in its expropriation but where is the money coming from? Second, there is presumably an agreement in place with Sunwing, but what does that agreement contain and what financial incentives, if any, have been offered by Sunwing or any other interested party to prompt Grenada government ministers to embark on such attempted seizure?
Furthermore, if the property is in fact intended for commercial redevelopment by a private party, there must be some doubt, notwithstanding the governor general’s “conclusive” declaration, as to whether it is genuinely required “for a public purpose”, a term that is not defined in the Act but which is generally held to mean something that purports to benefit the populace as a whole and not narrow private or other interests.
The Grenada government has so far declined to address these issues.
The Grenadian by Rex Resorts recently received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor – the world’s largest travel site – for the year 2016. This recognition distinguishes the hotel from competitors, gives guests more reason to choose the hotel, and is a testament to the quality of facilities and service provided by the hotel and its local staff.
Grenada minister accused of misleading statements
Grenada government tries again to seize local hotel