Minister of Legal Affairs, Elvin Nimrod has said that negotiations can continue between government and the Grenadian By Rex Resort despite the legal action brought on by the proprietors of the hotel.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex, the Deputy Prime Minister disclosed that discussions and negotiations surrounding an offer made to the proprietors of the Rex Grenadian were taking place at the time and these negotiations are still permitted even with the matter going before the court.
“I think that is still permitted because it is my understanding that the injunction intends to refer to the actual publication of another notice in the Gazette. The court didn’t say you cannot continue your discussions or your negotiations and in terms of (the) offer”, he told reporters.
“If you could settle a matter without going to court, the court likes that and everybody likes that; of course you saving judicial time,” Minister Nimrod said.
The senior government minister stated that there will be negotiations between the two sides in terms of compensation but that issue cannot be settled outside of the realms of court.
“That’s a matter that the court will settle, the compensation part of it because (in) most cases there are large difference in what is being offered and what is soon to be accepted, so the court will most likely set the compensation package,” he remarked.
THE NEW TODAY understands that government has put forward an offer of $9 million to the table but the owners of the hotel have indicated that the investment is over $40 million.
Government has already indicated that it has been engaged in talks with persons who are interested in taking over the operations of the Rex that was built on state-leased lands in the early 1990’s.
According to government officials, its move against the hotel came against the backdrop of complaints that the property has badly deteriorated in recent years.
Under Grenadian law, the government can acquire a property in the public’s interest and during the press briefing, Minister Nimrod sought to explain “public interest” in the Rex Grenadian from governments point of view.
“I wanna make this clear that the dictates of the constitution in relevance to acquisition is that it must be in a public interest, for the public’s interest and secondly just compensation must be made and …. those are the two main pillars of the judicial exercise”, he said.
“…If the existence of the Rex is causing problems whether for people or anybody else, the government really has an obligation to move in the public’s interest. The public interest in terms of definition is very broad but it’s like you can’t touch it, you can’t see it but when you see it you know it,” he added.
Solicitor General, Dwight Horsford, who accompanied the Deputy Prime Minister at the press briefing pointed out that government has nothing to prove in court and that all respects of proof is for the proprietors of the resort.
“As it stands now under the Land Acquisition act, once the publication is made (in the Gazette), we’re saying that it is for a public purpose, it is conclusive of that public’s purpose, so as to say, in other words, the government does not have to specify, define the public purpose.
“Those who challenge that it is not for a specific or any public purpose, they have to go to the court and show that and prove that and they have been given (permission) to prove to do that.
The legal battle between government and the Rex is due to be heard in open court in May.