Government stands firm on Rex Grenadian acquisition

The battle lines are drawn between the Keith Mitchell-led government and the operators of The Grenadian by Rex resort, located near to the Maurice Bishop International Airport.

Government indicated several weeks ago that it had notified the Management of the hotel of its decision to acquire the property because it felt that the resort is not serving the public to the best of its ability.

Notice of the acquisition was first published in government gazette in early February.
Rex filed court papers last Friday seeking an injunction to prevent Mitchell’s ruling New National Party (NNP) government from acquiring the property.

In the face of a possible long and expensive legal battle ahead, Agriculture and Lands Minister, Roland Bhola sought to assure the nation that the taxpayers will not foot the legal bills.

“Be assured that not one cent of the Grenadian tax payers’ money will be spent to either fight a case with The Rex Grenadian or to compensate them”, he told reporters at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing held at the Ministerial Complex.

Minister Bhola said the final decision of the Rex Grenadian will have to be made by the court but the fact remains that the law does not prevent government from acquiring any property.

He said what the court can do is increase or decrease the compensation package the government made to the resort in an effort to bring about a solution to the problem.

According to Bhola, it has been over a decade since government has been in discussions with the resort with regards to its development.

He stated that before the 2008 election, the proprietor had given an indication on how they intended to turn the situation around and stick to the lease agreement but “instead of improving they continue to deteriorate.”

“The initial arrangement that it was supposed to be a five star hotel, it has never gotten to that, maybe two and a half. I’m not sure. They basically operate the facility as a hostel now. You hardly have any tourists going there, it (is) just students from SGU, they just use it as dorms.

“…As we speak now there are persons who would report to you that they go to a function in Rex and chairs that they have been given, when they sit on it, it just disintegrates on them. There are persons who would tell you the roofs are leaking and sometimes if it rains (at) nights and they are in a bedroom, they have to move their beds from where it is to another area.

“This is the hotel, if you do the research … the staff members are totally dissatisfied. The Union has been crying out, the hotel association has been saying that if this facility continues to operate as a hotel, it is an embarrassment to us here in Grenada.

According to Bhola, government concluded that no improvement was being made and a valuation of the property was done by government with a view to its acquisition.

He said the cash-strapped three-year-old Mitchell administration decided to make the proprietor an offer based on the worth of Rex Grenadian.

He spoke of the owners of the hotel not giving government any indication as to whether they accept or deny the offer and it was then that the State  made the decision to move to acquire the property.

The senior government minister reported that a letter was written to the proprietors informing them that if they did not accept the offer by government, the property will be acquired.

He told reporters that if an injunction was filed by the hotel to block the acquisition then government is prepared for any decision that may be made in court about the matter.

He confirmed reports circulating in the country that there are “other interesting parties who want … the property to improve … and do better (and) to bring a better tourism product…”.

Minister Bhola hinted that these persons are prepared to foot the legal fees for the court battle, as they “have indicated and have signed that they are prepared to meet whatever costs there will be.”

THE NEW TODAY understands that Canadian-based Sun Wing Airline has interest in the Rex property and might be backed for it by the Mitchell-led government.

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