The former owners of the Grenadian by Rex Resort have been stripped of its 99-year lease as the government of Grenada was given the go ahead in court to acquire the property.
In early 2016, the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government made moves to acquire the Grenadian by Rex Resort under the Land Acquisition Act, through a seven-day notice on the grounds that the property was not providing the service that it was expected to.
As a result of this, the British owners, MRI Limited filed an injunction to prevent government from seizing the property.
THE NEW TODAY understands that during the first ruling before the High Court, the presiding judge ruled that the government cannot be prevented from acquiring the property but said that the notice published in the Government Gazette at the time to this effect was not properly worded.
An injunction was then granted to prevent the government from moving forward with its acquisition.
Government then moved to re-gazette the first and second notices in order to bring an end to the looming court battle.
The green light for acquisition was finally given to government in December when the high court ruled in its favour and to pay compensation to the operators of the Rex.
During the early stage of negotiations, government reportedly offered the owners of the hotel $9 million in compensation but it was rejected.
Speaking on behalf of the government at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing on Tuesday, Minister of Economic Development, Oliver Joseph said that in order to fulfill the court ruling an assessment of the property will have to be done.
“The court has now ruled that the government has the right to acquire the property. The first and second notice has been published in the Gazette and we are moving swiftly to ensure that there is a smooth transition from the current owners to government,” he remarked.
According to Minister Joseph, an assessment board will be established to get a true reflection of the value of the property.
“An assessment board will be established because government did an assessment evaluation; Rex had an evaluation done and we had to now set up an independent board to do an assessment regarding the true value”, he said.
“As you know, the court said ‘you could acquire, that’s the right of the government but you must pay compensation immediately or soon thereafter.’ The next stage is for this assessment to be completed so
that you can have the true value of the property and then government will move quickly to pay for the Rex Grenadian,” he added.
The minister said the NNP regime will be moving swiftly to have work started on the property in an effort to have it transformed into the property it was supposed to be.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this matter and we are very hopeful that very soon you will see work starting on the Rex Grenadian to transform it into a modern hotel that it was meant to be in the first place…we would move swiftly to bring it up to the five star hotel that it was meant to be,” he said.
Minister Joseph announced that a number of private investors have expressed interest in the Rex property but government will name who it will engage after the acquisition process is completed.
Jamaican hotel magnate Gordon “Butch” Stewart is said to be interested in laying its hands on the Rex property.
The name of a Canadian outfit involved in the airline industry has also surfaced on the Rex deal.