Gov’t reacts to Court of Appeal ruling

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration in St. George’s has offered its first public statement on the recent Court of Appeal ruling against it in the ongoing Rex Grenadian hotel saga.

The regime was very diplomatic in chiding the Justices of Appeal for handing down a decision without notifying it.

A high-level government source said that the “secretive manner” in which the decision was handed down on December 15 could be used as grounds for an appeal by the State in the Rex matter.

He stated that no government department including the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Office of the Solicitor-General was given prior notice of the handing down of the decision.

As a public service THE NEW TODAY reproduces in full the statement issued by the Mitchell government on the latest ruling against it from the Court of Appeal:

“Like most of the public, only today (December 21) has the Attorney-General’s Chambers in the Ministry of Legal Affairs learned of a decision of the Court of Appeal delivered on Friday the 15th December, 2017 regarding the Government’s application to that Court to have set aside or remove an interim Order made by Justice of Appeal Davidson Baptiste on the 22nd February, 2017 directing the Government not to take steps to enforce its rights as owner pursuant to compulsory acquisition of the property in December, 2016, and permitting the Rex Grenadian Hotel to continue to remain in possession until the determination of an appeal against the decision of the High Court on the 20th December, 2016 which paved the way for the Government to acquire the Hotel property.

What the Court of Appeal has decided is to dismiss an application made by the Government of Grenada seeking to set aside or remove the interim Order granted by Justice of Appeal Baptiste on the 22nd February, 2017 and nothing else.

The issue regarding Government’s acquisition of the Rex Grenadian Hotel property is still incomplete; so, this ruling by the Court of Appeal is not the end of the matter.

The substantive matter before the Court of Appeal is still pending. That matter concerns Rex Grenadian Hotel’s appeal against the judgment of Justice Roberts in the High Court which allowed the Government to employ the proper procedure to acquire the Hotel premises by compulsory acquisition process effected on the 31st December, 2016.

The legality of that acquisition is not in question. The lawfulness of the Government’s acquisition of the property in December, 2016 is not the subject of this recent Court of Appeal decision either.

There is therefore no question of the Government’s ownership of the Rex Grenadian Hotel property, neither is the validity of the compulsory acquisition of the property by the Government of Grenada in December, 2016 in issue.

The effect of the ruling just handed down is that the Government, whilst it is the owner of the property, cannot assume physical control and possession of the Hotel property until the appeal process in completed.

The ruling of the Court of Appeal only serves to delay the inevitable.

The government remains committed to ensuring that the property now known as Rex Grenadian is developed to full capacity and industry standards, for the benefit of the workers currently employed there, and the Grenadian taxpayer”.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress party in Grenada has put out its own statement on the Court of Appeal ruling in the Rex Grenadian matter.

It said: “The National Democratic Congress (NDC) notes the decision by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal, to dismiss the appeal by the Keith Mitchell Administration against their earlier ruling that prevented the Government from moving to unilaterally acquire the Rex Grenadian Resort.

“Whilst the party welcomes the decision by the Court as a signal that the autocracy demonstrated by the NNP Administration will not be tolerated, we cannot help but be mindful and concerned at what this latest government foray into foolhardiness has cost the Grenadian people.

“This is yet another tragic instance of the reckless conduct of the Government costing the Grenadian people,” said NDC Party Leader Senator, Hon. V. Nazim Burke in a response to the undisclosed costs awarded by the Courts to the Rex Resorts, to be paid by the Government of Grenada, and ultimately the taxpayers of the nation.

“At a time when families are hurting economically and are looking to Government for a way out, Grenada cannot afford this kind of cost,” Senator Burke declared.

He also criticized what he termed as “Government’s hostility towards foreign investors, most notably Rex Resorts and GRENLEC,” which he believes is responsible for the decided lack of foreign investment in Grenada, these actions at clear odds with Mitchell and the NNP’s election braggadocio of “foreign investors lined up.”

The NDC encourages the Government to seek to put the needs of country and people first, the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique deserve nothing less.

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