The Grand Beach Resorts Court Case
Grenada’s Attorney-General Rohan Phillip has instituted legal proceedings against his predecessor in the office, Jimmy Bristol seeking to get a high court judge to remove him from acting as one of the legal representatives of a client who brought a case against the State.
A high-level source told THE NEW TODAY that Phillip is accusing Bristol of engaging in unethical behaviour by accepting a retainer from Time Bourke Holdings (Grenada) Limited to engage in a legal battle against the Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
He said that Prime Minister Tillman Thomas instructed Phillip to move the court to get Bristol to remove himself from the case on the grounds that he was the defacto Attorney General of the country when the dispute started between Time Bourke and the State over the Grand Beach Resorts issue.
Bristol was asked to step down from the AG post when information surfaced that he used a government letterhead to write a letter to the U.S Justice Department seeking leniency for his stepson on a drug-related case.
This newspaper sought to get copies of the action taken against Bristol by Phillip but was told that it is too sensitive a matter at this stage to be made available to the press.
“It is under lock and key for the time being. It cannot be released just as yet”, said a source close to the case.
However, THE NEW TODAY was able to obtain the copy of a lawsuit, which Bristol filed on behalf of Time Bourke against Prime Minister Thomas and his Cabinet of Ministers seeking compensation for the acquisition of the Grand Beach lands.
The local attorney is seeking “an order of Certiorari” from the court “to quash the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Government of Grenada and to advise the Governor-General that a parcel of land, approximately 20 acres….at Morne Rouge …. which land was then in the private ownership of the Applicant (Time Bourke), but subject to a leased in favour of Issa Nicholas (Grenada) Limited for the unexpired term of 99 years from the date of that lease, should be acquired for a public purpose…. the enhancement of the hotel stock in Grenada, and that for that purpose he should cause a declaration to that effect to be made pursuant to the Land Acquisition Act…”.
A legal source said that the move by Bristol is aimed at getting the State to commit itself to paying millions to Time Bourke in compensation over the acquisition of the lands.
The former Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government had made the lands available to grand prix drier, Lewis Hamilton, the principal figure in Time Bourke as part of a deal to build a five star hotel on the property.
The deal reportedly fell through when the Hamilton Group failed to honour its financial obligations to Nicholas, one of the foremost hotel tycoons in the Caribbean.
Time Bourke is said to have made an initial payment of $4 million to Nicholas and did not hand over the balance of the funds believed to be in the vicinity of $36 million.
Within weeks of coming into office, Prime Minister Thomas and his government to wind of the Hamilton deal with the former administration and started to questioned the transparency of the action.
After a protracted stalemate, the Grenadian leader took the decision to acquire the lands and Time Bourke through Bristol decided to institute legal proceedings against the State.
It is believed that a value of fifteen million dollars was put on the lands in the talks that took place between the Mitchell government and the agents of Hamilton.
It is reported that this value would be realised by the grant to the Government of Grenada the “right to use and reproduce approved photographs and recordings of Lewis Hamilton and Lewis Hamilton’s name, autography and biography for and in connection with the promotion of the State of Grenada for a period of four years…”.