|Letter: The creation of a financial fiasco: The Ottley Hall Marina|
|Published on September 18, 2012||
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Despite all that has been said and written about the Ottley Hall Marina in St Vincent, I am prepared to bet that less than 10% of Vincentians have a firm understanding of what transpired regarding this project's controversial construction, financing and massive failure. Further, I am also prepared to bet as well, that 1% of West Indians have no clue what happened or how the problem was solved.
This is not an attempt to cast blame or assign responsibility to anyone for the project's failure. Rather, it is simply an account of what happened, how it developed, and the steps taken to solve this massive financial dilemma.
The Shaky Beginning
This saga began around 1990, during the second term of the James Mitchell administration in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Prime Minister Mitchell agreed to pursue a joint-venture to build a shipyard at Ottley Hall designed to repair vessels and to launch a pleasure cruise service through the Eastern Caribbean. Unfortunately, the partner he selected was none other than the unscrupulous Dr Aldo Rolla, who owned the Valdattaro Shipyard in Italy.
Rolla formed and registered a company called St Vincent Yachting and Shipping (SVYS) and was to own 51% of the Ottley Hall project, but only possessed one known asset. It was an unseaworthy yacht named "The Istranka", which was valued at US$18 million. This ship was practically worthless. The insurers, Lloyds of the United Kingdom, had refused to insure the vessel anymore because it was unseaworthy. Still, the $18 million value was assigned to it and the Mitchell administration simply went along, being led by Dr Rolla.
On the other hand, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines also formed a company called Caribbean Charter Yacht Yard Limited (CCYY) to implement and manage the project, and they owned a 49% share. That share was paid for by a purported loan of US$11.29 million from SVYS, and US$6 million worth of lands in Ottley Hall.
The problem was that the loan was notional, since no money was actually exchanged. SVYS had no money... period. CCYY Limited was therefore formed without any cash to do anything. The company was put together with spit and glue. As a result, they had to search far and wide for money -- they desperately needed working capital.
Creative Financing Mitchell-Style
James Mitchell found a consortium of European banks headed by West LB of Germany, and they were willing to lend him the necessary funds for the project. Mitchell then, in mid-1991, took a Bill to Parliament to provide him with the SOLE AUTHORITY to borrow US$50.3 million. On that particular day, the proceedings of the House of Assembly exhibited a high level of recklessness. That was accompanied by a total and complete lack of transparency. Added to the mix, was a potent concoction of falsehoods by the NDP parliamentarians. This display was historical. It is, and has been totally unmatched in our country's history of popular representative government.
It must be noted here that no Bill was ever taken to Parliament to authorize this borrowing. Further, no listing was ever recorded of it as being a debt owed by the government. This transaction never ever appeared in the annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of the government of SVG.
Ralph Gonsalves and the MNU, along with Stanley "Stalky" John of the SVGLP, made several sterling and powerful contributions on TV against the project and its financing. They proclaimed that the project was designed to fail, and only in its failure was it possible for some of the principals to make money at the expense of the Vincentian people.
The MNU and the Labour Party raised several questions about Dr Rolla and his Italian shipyard. The matter of parliamentary authorization to borrow US$50.3 million from the European banks was continuously challenged. The absence of planning approval for the shipyard and the very project itself were all questioned.
Despite this, Prime Minister James Mitchell still stubbornly defended Aldo Rolla, the project's financing, and the entire project with every facet of his being.
The Project’s Unraveling
It did not take long before the project began to dissolve. While monies were being spent on building the marina, neither principal nor interest was being paid. West LB, acting for the consortium of lending banks, sued CCYY and the SVG government in the English courts. The government did not even file a defence, so the banks obtained their judgement in default.
James Mitchell and Arnhim Eustace, as Minister of Finance, became involved in serious negotiations with West LB, and a substantial portion of the interest arrears was forgiven. The SVG government then agreed that the loan should be divided into a principal or rescheduled and subordinated loan. If the government was able to pay off the principal loan on time on the new terms, then the subordinated loan portion would be forgiven. If not, then the entire sum would become due and payable immediately.
By the end of 2007, the indebtedness of the government on this project was EC$89.4 million on the rescheduled loan; EC$39.7 million on the subordinated loan, and EC$39.8 million due to SACE, the Italian state export agency. The total indebtedness on the West LB/SACE Loan was EC$164.8 million. The amount owing to the local National Commercial Bank on this project was EC$35 million. Meanwhile, the auditing firm of Coopers and Lybrand had valued the Ottley Hall project at US$5 million.
Arnhim Eustace as Minister of Finance made interest payments between December 1998 and January 2001 of EC$19 million. The payment of the principal sum was scheduled to begin in December 2003. Fortunately, the March 2001 elections saw a welcomed change in government and the NDP was swept out of power in a massive landslide.
Dr Ralph Gonsalves To The Rescue
The next installment of interest payment became due in June 2001, and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, as Minister of Finance, wrote West LB and SACE informing them that the SVG government would not be making any payments on the Ottley Hall debt until a fair and satisfactory agreement was concluded.
PM Gonsalves made the point that the government was not defaulting on the loan, and he went on to stress that we were deferring payment until a fair and satisfactory settlement was reached.
I will in future, conclude this feature with an explanation of exactly how this matter was satisfactorily concluded.
here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!
SOUNDS VERY MUCH LIKE A MIXTURE OF BUCCAMENT AND THE ARGYLE AIRPORT. EXCEPT THESE JOINT PROJECTS ARE GOING TO PROVE EVEN WORSE THAN OTTLEY HALL.
WE WILL HAVE DEBTS OF BILLIONS, INSTEAD OF MILLIONS.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US YOUR VERSION OF THE HISTORY OF THE OTTLEY HALL DEAL AND DEBACLE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU HAVE SUCH CLEAR AND PRECISE EVIDENCE?
YOU HAVE ALWAYS CLAIMED TO BE AN EXPERT ON OTTLEY HALL. WHERE DOES THE $184 MILLION COME IN THAT YOU SAID WAS STOLEN OR EMBEZELED? AND YOU THE EXPERT ON THE OVERALL DEAL AND PROJECT KNOW WHO STOLE THE MONEY. SO TELL US AND INFORM HEREWITH THE POLICE, JUST WHO STOLE OR EMBEZELED THE $184 MILLION YOU PREVIOUSLY TOLD US ABOUT.
SEEING AS YOUR A NOBODY AND A FACELESS FRAUD, IN FACT A DOUBLE FACED DOUBLE FRAUD, SIMON ANDERSON AND HORACE WILLIAMS< BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. HOW COME YOU ARE AN EXPERT ON THE OTTLEY HALL PROJECT? ARE YOU REPEATING WHAT SOMEONE TOLD YOU? ARE YOU WRITING WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN WRITTEN ELSEWHERE? WERE YOU THERE WHEN THE DEAL TOOK PLACE? HAVE YOU MADE IT ALL UP? HAVE YOU EMBROIDERED SOME OF WHAT YOU READ? OR ARE YOU RUNNING TRUE TO FORM? AND JUST TELLING LIES?
TELL US HOW YOU BECAME AN EXPERT WITNESS TO THE OTTLEY HALL FIASCO, AND TELL US WHY YOU HAVE NOT GIVEN EVIDENCE IN THE ENQUIRY.
SEEING AS THE ENQUIRY HAS NOT YET BEEN COMPLETED, HOW COME YOU CAN BROADCAST SUCH DETAILED EVIDENCE BEFORE THE PUBLIC ENQUIRY MAKES ITS FINAL STATEMENT?
WHY HASN'T GONSALVES COME HERE HIMSELF TO GIVE US HIS VERSION, OR EVEN ORDERED THE MAN I CONSIDER A PRATT, BYRON-COX TO DO SO?
IF THE FINAL ENQUIRY FINDS EVIDENCE OF WRONG DOING, I HOPE THAT PROSECUTIONS TAKE PLACE.
JUST AS I BELIEVE THERE ARE SOME SERIOUS WRONG DOINGS AT THE AIRPORT BEING BUILT AT ARGYLE, AND I BELIEVE THAT BUCCAMENT IS GOING TO REVEAL PLENTY OF WRONG ALSO. WHOEVER IS PROVEN TO BE PART OF ANY WRONG IN THESE PROJECTS, LET THEM BE PUNISHED ALSO.
ANDERSON/WILLIAMS, stop being Judge, Jury and Hangman, you are such a dope [double dope]. There is an enquiry going on, with much more inteligent people than you conducting it. Lets see what they finaly bring to the people.
Give us some evidence of all what you wrote. Facts just the facts as BYRON-COX says, but he only refers to facts as he as a MARXIS views them, perhaps that is how you view them in your MARXIST mode.
Bye for now.
How much longer can you go on with this, and how many more ways can you spin this? You did it under the moniker of VINCY POWA and you are doing it under Simon Anderson. Since 2001, we were promised that James Mitchell will be put in prison for this Ottley hall nonsense, I asked before and i'll ask again, what in gods name is taking so long? 12 years and we can't put away the man for this? Look, we have fresh corruption on our hands to deal with, God will deal with Mitchell if he is indeed guilty of anything. Try something new, please, not even Ralph bothering with this nonsense anymore. Surely, you must have something else you can share with us?
I am not sure, who Harace Williams AKA Simon Anderson is however, I was convinced that this man was a member of the Bermuda Police Service, who played an active role in my exploitation. But from reliable souces I discovered that Simon Anderson is Horace Williams a vincentian who now resides in Florida. I also did my research and actually got photos of Him. I was wrong.
They are factual information about this bragadosios man Simon Anderson....AKA.....Harace Williams
Allan Palmer, you are the worst!
You have absolutely no shame!
Whose lying account should anyone believe, yours, or Peter/Brian Alexander's?
On June 3rd 2011, you wrote a long article saying how you knew me well. You said that I was the COMMISSIONER OF POLICE in Bermuda. You knew me as Simon Anderson, and we spoke on several occasions while we were both in Bermuda.
What are you now saying Allan Palmer? Which of your stories is correct?
If what you just said above is correct, then you lied in June 2011!
If what you said in June 2011 is correct, then WHAT YOU SAID ABOVE IS A DAMNED LIE!
You created the lie in June 2011 and Peter/Brian Alexander created this one.
You guys are all liars.
Palmer, why not tell us about your time in HER MAJESTY'S JAIL?
Allan, at least he seems to have believed you to be SPEAKING THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH, UNQUESTIONABLY, WHEN YOU STATED that "one by the name of Peter" told you so!
I have done some similar investigations, and found some very not dissimilar results.
MOON DOES RUN - - - 'TILL DAY KETCH 'UM !
A TOTAL, UNMITIGATED POLITICAL FRAUD ?
ALAN PALMER, remember that SIMON ANDERSON AKA HORACE WILLIAMS, wrote in a reply to me more than once that he was the COMMISSIONER OF POLICE in Bermuda. This man has tried to convince me on several occasions that he is the chief of police. He has therefore been improperly and illegally posing as a police officer and breaking numerous US laws whilst writing on this media.
This man is a liar, a fraud and supporter of MARXISM.
I believe he has Iranian terrorist sympathies and that the US homeland security should be warned to watch his actions. I believe that like his Vincentian politics he is a supporter of Iran and as such should be investigated in operating safe houses for Iranians using false Vincentian passports.
Issue of false passports is one of the reasons that Canada has recently imposed visa requirements for Vincentians.
cc US Embassy, Barbados
cc Department of Homeland Security
cc Homeland Security Florida Office
cc US Immigration Services
@ Peter Steve Huggins Markie: I have never laugh so much in my life. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, he he he he he he he he he he oyeeeeeeeeeeeee. This Harace deceptive Williams the man who Graduate from with 5 degrees. I guess he is a weather man. He know about degrees the Weather man ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha lol. Oyeeeeeeeeeeeee Lawd.
ALLAN PALMER, you are the one who said that I was the Commissioner of Police in Bermuda. You said you knew me, and my name was Simon Anderson.
(See his June 3rd 2011 article entitled "Who is Simon Anderson.")
Palmer, are you stupid...or just a damned fool?
If you knew me as Simon Anderson, the Commissioner of Police in Bermuda, how could you now be refereeing to me as Horace Williams?
You must be sick in your head, Palmer!
Or, you are a stupid liar!
Which one is it?
COOeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ANDY PANDY HORATIO BLOW YOUR HORN WILLIAMS, now you are wriggling to try and make PALMER responsible about your imitating the Bermudan Police Chief to me, acting as an imposter and breaking laws. Whatever went on between you and PALMER is a different matter.
You told me that you are the BERMUDAN POLICE CHIEF.
Homeland Security, safe houses.
ALLAN, ah so you like it, eh ?
WHEN yuh ketch fraudulent simpleto 'Simon' Anderson - - - like Tewae - - - with he hand in the Church COLLECTION PLATE !
Tewae, Tewae, Tewae la Mer ...
Fete yourself Comrade ALLAN !
Nothing EVER PLEASE YOU SO !
Yuh 'tink hSIMONace WILLY Handerson could now beat LION in a Caribbean LYING COMPETITION !
Dat ah lie. Lie? Dat is lie !
And horific-ACE enter the LIARS' LYING COMPETITION,
and he first meet Mr. Defoe, who lier than Gunsie . . .
THE THREE STOOGES ARE AT IT AGAIN.........
BRIAN ALEXANDER, ALLAN PALMER And BOSS HOGG!
They "cut and paste,"they create something from nothing, they lie profusely, and they GO TO JAIL!
Don't you just wonder who is the most ignorant, dense and stupid?
Wha 'appen, BGA GENERAL SECRETARY FRAUD, yuh hand tired ?