Five Statutory Bodies have won the first round of a battle with EX-IM Bank of Taiwan, which has embarked upon legal action against Grenada to recover an estimated EC$83 million owed in loan commitments.
EX-IM Bank last year served restraining orders on state-owned bodies like the Grenada Airports Authority, Grenada Ports Authority, National Water and Sewerage Authority, Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority, and the Grenada Postal Corporation which provide services to cruise lines and aircrafts to have the money that they collect paid into an escrow account.
The five state-entities came together to fight the action taken by the Taiwanese bank, however in a landmark decision handed down last month, a court in New York lifted the restraining orders.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Grenada Airport Authority, Rodney George who addressed the media on Monday about the court’s decision said the Statutory Bodies are now able to lay their hands on approximately EC$7.5m by the end of July.
George told reporters that on June 22, Judge Harold Baer sitting in the Southern District Court of New York ruled that the restraining orders be vacated immediately and ordered that the funds that were sequested are not attachable now or in the future as they are protected under a United States Statute called the Foreign Services Immunity Act.
According to George, the Taiwanese are not surrendering so easily since the EXIM Bank lawyers have filed an appeal against the ruling.
“The good news is that the judge’s orders remain in force, the restraining orders have been vacated, and even if the appeal has been filed that does not overturn the judge’s order,” he said.
Finance Minister, Nazim Burke who addressed the situation during last week’s sitting of the House of Representatives said he believes the lifting of the restraining orders is good news for Grenada as the Statutory Bodies were seriously affected by the decision of the Taiwanese.
Grenada has four loans with the EX-IM Bank of Taiwan which were contracted in July 1990 in the sum of US $10 million, April 1997, US $2 million, October 1997, US $6 million, and a further US $10 million in August 2000.
Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority, Lester Andall who joined his Chairman at the Press Conference said of the total sum that is due to all of the Bodies, $4.5m goes to the Airport Authority.
Andall said that money would now be used to service loans taken as a result of the shortfall in the cash flow to meet the airport’s operations.