Former Attorney-General, Jimmy Bristol has been pushing to get barrister-at-law Anselm Clouden to withdraw recent statements made by him on the issue of Sandals LaSouce and the public right to the beach.
Clouden had made his comments following the hearing of a matter in court between Sandals and Leon Taylor, the former owner of La Source who sold his property in 2012 to the Jamaican outfit that runs Sandals.
Bristol who is acting for Sandals was insisting that Clouden withdraw his statement and issue an apology to Sandals.
A draft apology was prepared but not put out by Clouden.
The sitting judge, Justice Thomas Astaphan, QC, was approached to approve a press release to resovle the matter.
The judge insisted that his (Justice Astaphan’s) “admonition to Sanlas Property Holdings Grenada Ltd (Sandals La Source) regarding access to the beach should also be included so as to provide balance to the publication”.
Following is the full text of the release issued by Attorney Clouden with approval from Justice Astaphan:
Further to my Press Release made last Wednesday, 18th February, 2015, regarding the issue of access to beaches in Grenada, I have been directed by Mr. Justice Thomas Astaphan, judge of the High Court of Grenada to provide a fuller account of what transpired in court on the said Wednesday, 18th, February 2015, so as to prevent any misrepresentation of what occurred and I now do so.
(l). The subject matter involved a claim for an injunction filed by Sandals Property Holdings Grenada Limited, the owners of the Sandals Resort against Mr. Leon Taylor and Pointe Salines Development Limited
(2). In the Claim, being GDAHCV 005/2015, on the 9th February, 2015, Mr. Justice Astaphan granted an exparte injunction against Leon Taylor and Pointe Salines Development Limited to prevent them from removing any of Sandals moveable property placed on the foreshore adjacent to and abutting the Sandals hotel. As the injunction was granted without notice to Mr. Taylor and Pointe Salines Development Limited, there a return date set for 18th February, 2015 at which time the parties by their respective Counsel, James Bristol for Sandals hotel and Dickon Mitchell for Leon Taylor and Pointe Salines argued for and against the continuation of the injunction.
(3) Mr. Justice Astaphan ruled that the injunction should continue as there was a serious issue to be tried and to preserve the status quo. He ruled that the serious issue was whether the property on which Sandals beach chairs and other moveable furniture was being placed belonged to Point Salines Development Limited or whether it was public and thus belonging to the State.
(4). He also directed that the documents filed in the Claim were to be served on the office of the Attorney General as it was that office’s duty to seek the interest of the public in the matter, given the issue raised in the claim.
(5). It was therefore in the context of the discussion regarding the public right to access beaches and the beach in question that the matters raised by me in my earlier press conference took place.
Meanwhile, Sandals La Source through its General Manager, Peter Fraser issued the following statement to clear the air on the controversial issue of private beaches in Grenada:
Sandals Resorts International would like to refute recent suggestions in the media which conveyed that our resort in Grenada, Sandals La Source was involved in a process of litigation surrounding the right to ownership of private beach.
We would therefore like to state categorically that at no time were we involved in any process of litigation pertaining to the ownership of a private beach. Nothing could be further from the truth and such suggestions are totally erroneous and inaccurate.
We would like to state further that at no time since entering Grenada have we sought to operate a private beach.
Not only is the issue of private beaching a contravention of our business philosophy, but it is also against the laws of Grenada which we intend to continue embracing with the strictest of adherence.
In all of the nine Caribbean destinations where we have invested, we do not own or wish to operate a private beach.
We are a Caribbean home-grown family business with the strongest appreciation for nationals to access beaches in our various destinations. Moreover, we are cognizant of the possibility of xenophobia that could materialise should nationals be barred access to beaches while unrestricted access is allowed to tourists.
We therefore would like to encourage our media partners in Grenada to further research this matter, so that a more accurate dissemination of information to the general public can be attained.