The controversial sale and acquisition of Grenada’s prime beachfront property on which sits the Grenada Grand Beach Resort is far from over.
Former Prime Minister and current Opposition Leader Dr Keith Mitchell say if he is returned to office in the upcoming general elections he will pursue the original planned project with the grand prix driver.
Addressing an estimated crowd of 2500 members and supporters of his New National Party (NNP) at a rally at the Roy St John’s Playing Field at Tanteen on Sunday, Dr. Mitchell made it clear that he intends to woo back the British-born racer and his plans for the property.
Dr. Mitchell said he is already involved in discussions with Hamilton’s family to resume the Grenada Grand Beach Resort project once his party is voted back into office.
The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas was forced to look into the project shortly after taking office in July 2008.
It discovered that the sale of the 20 acres of prime beachfront property by the Mitchell government to an outfit involving Hamilton took place one day before the elections.
The lands, nestled along the world acclaimed Grand Anse Beach, were handed over to Hamilton and his Time Burke Holdings (Grenada) Limited in return for the international acclaimed racer’s promotion of the Spice Island for a period of four years.
In addition, the agreement gave Grenada permission to use the racer’s photographs once approved and records of his name, autograph and approved biography for promotional purposes.
The New National Party also expected Time Bourke to construct a multi-million dollar five-star facility that would have created jobs for locals.
The agreement initialed by former Governor-General, Sir Daniel Williams, gave Time Bourke freehold title to the beach-front land and expected the company to purchase the hotel from Trinidad business tycoon, Issa Nicholas for an estimated $40 million E.C dollars.
Nicholas who has a 99-year lease on the property had entered into discussions with the Hamilton Group.
The deal allegedly fell through when Time Bourke failed to hand over the remainder of the funds, estimated at around EC$36 million dollars to the hotel tycoon.
The Hamilton Group reportedly lost their initial EC$4 million deposited on the deal. The annual EC$250,000 (US$92,592) lease payment Grand Beach made to the government for the lands are now being paid to Hamilton’s company, as it now owns the leasehold for the land.
After months of wrangling, Prime Minister Thomas agreed to reacquire the Crown lands in the name of the Government and People of Grenada relying on a clause in the agreement, which allegedly provides for the State to take back the lands for non-performance on the part of the Hamilton Group.
However earlier this year, the Grand prix driver through his lawyers filed a lawsuit against the Grenada Government seeking $40.7 million E.C dollars for reacquiring the 20 acres of lands.
Time Bourke Holdings (Grenada) Limited claimed that they purchased freehold to the property from the Government of Grenada for US$15,000,000 in 2008.