American national Stephen Randall Oveson who is now being promoted as the main developer at the controversial Levera project in the north of the island has announced plans to install a block making plant to assist with the construction of material for the multi-million dollar facility.
Speaking to reporters on the compound of the state-run Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) at Frequent in St. George’s, Oveson said that the block plant is badly needed to address a major challenge of getting material like blocks to the project site.
He pointed out that the roads leading up to the project are very narrow and pose significant challenges in transporting material from outside to the site.
The Levera project has been under a cloud of suspicion with the involvement of Oveson’s younger brother, Robert Martin Oveson who is linked to NTL Trust, a Nevis-based company that is engaged in Grenada’s passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI).
Robert Martin has been accused of fraud by several U.S and Canadian citizens who invested in a Condo and Home units in Mexico in 2008.
Some of the investors claimed that the younger Oveson took their monies and dd not deliver any of the units to them.
A week ago, THE NEW TODAY reported that Director of Public Prosecutions (DDP), Christopher Nelson had requested the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to take charge of a Criminal complaint made against Oveson in connection with US$1 million belonging to Roger Ver, the holder of a Kittian citizenship passport.
Ver has also filed a lawsuit against Oveson in the island’s Supreme Court Registry seeking the return of his money plus US$1 million in damages for misleading him about a CBI passport that he was seeking to buy from the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration in St. George’s.
In the face of the growing controversies, the older Oveson sought to reassure the local media that things are proceeding at Levera and the promised facility is taking shape.
He said that “good progress is being made in the first phase despite problems in getting concrete to the remote area where construction is taking place.
He indicated that “from the very beginning…just getting concrete to a site that (is so) far away is incredibly hard because if you put the concrete in a concrete mixer truck and take it that far away the concrete would be already hard by the time it gets there”.
According to the older Oveson, the first phase of the project will see the construction of 14 of cottages of which 6 have already been completed and work feverishly being carried out to construct the other 8.
“The stem walls are going in…the lots are being cleared for all of them (the remaining 8 cottages) at this time,” he said, noting that “all of the stems walls are poured by primarily the labour of the local people that are employed there (on the site).
He went on to say: “They (the workers) are literally making it with a mixer, filling buckets and pouring it by hand because it’s really the only way to do it…as we get to some of the larger segments we are hoping to get trucks involved because it’s going to take forever to fill bucket by bucket”.
“We are using a system called the ‘Endura Wall System’…We are looking to have a plant that we can bring to the island for the purpose of making that block,” Oveson added as he commended the labour of the more than 30 locals employed on the project site.
The project developer disclosed that the proposed plant can also be used to produce Endura blocks for sale to those who are interested in using them.
The ‘Endura wall system,’ which is manufactured in the United States, is made up of a Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) with two layers of foam insulation inside.
Manufacturers have labeled the block system, as being environmentally friendly, durable, rodent and rot proof, cost competitive, sound deadening and a fire resistant alternative over traditional building methods.
Oveson told reporters that the blocks can withstand “all kinds of damages as he showed video clips and photos capturing the work currently ongoing at the Levera project site.
“The labour on the site is amazing. I don’t know that I have ever seen better, harder workers anywhere on the planet and we have people lining up saying when can I get hired. So we are hoping to get some additional financing to come through and when that financing comes through you would see the crew increase dramatically and the work progress even more dramatically,” he said.
The media was also given a preview of a promotional video being prepared, which comprises statements made by his brother Robert Martin Oveson along with Prime Minster Dr. Keith Mitchell and Government Ministers Pamela Moses and Anthony Boatswain at the launch of the project in November 2016.
In addition, the older Oveson brother said the Levera project would be promoted at a two-day International Immigration Summit in Dubai from February 28 to March 1.
He announced that other promotional efforts include “heavy promotion on the web, not just on our own site but on other sites as well.
“We have a great network of agents. We have been working with some of the best people in China that are bringing in some wonderful investors to us”, he said.