Saturday, January 12, 2013

AG Ramlogan says THA actions negatively affecting T&T

File: AG Anand Ramlogan
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said Thursday the actions of the PNM-led Tobago House of Assembly (THA) could negatively affect the country as a whole.

He made the comment with respect to
legal wrangling with a group of UK investors over the failure of the THA, led by Chief Secretary Orville London, to conclude a land deal.
Now the investors are seeking $200 million in compensation and have started legal proceedings. Ramlogan told the Guardian the claim brought by the investors outlines the denial of an opportunity for foreigners to make significant investment in Tobago, especially at a time when the tourism sector is in dire need of a boost.

“The fact is the THA appears to have refused to respond and properly treat with the application for a licence to facilitate the investment...This sends a wrong signal to foreign investors at a time when the country faces stiff competition to woo foreign investors,” Ramlogan said.

Red flags were also raised, he said, when the THA allegedly acquired a parcel of the land at Culloden Estate.

“This is why I have asked for information about the terms and conditions and circumstances that prompted that acquisition of the Culloden Estate by the THA, and good public administration clearly required that the application for the licence be dealt with in a professional manner and due process be followed.”

The information below has been reproduced from the Guardian newspaper

Details of the claim:
  1. Acting through two companies, one registered in St Lucia and the other in Trinidad under the Culloden Reef tag (investor companies), commencing in 2005 and 2006, they entered into certain agreement for a project involving the acquisition of the 184-acre Culloden Estate. The project was dependent upon the acquisition of the Culloden Estate, where the hotel and resort with the ancillary and associated facilties were to be constructed
  2. The investor companies made applications for approvals to the relevant state agencies for the necessary licences and approvals. Among these was an application for the grant of a licence under the provisions of the Financial Investment Act for the acquisition of the Culloden Estate
  3. The THA has the responsibility for processing and approving applications for the grant of the licences
  4. The application made by the investor companies was submitted in February 2007 through their then attorneys, Hamel-Smith and Company. Despite several meetings and encouragement from officials at the THA, including the chief secretary, no written response has been received by the investor companies to date from the THA in response to the application
  5. Consequently, the bid to acquire the Culloden Estate has floundered and the investors have been put to substantial loss and damage.
Defence of claim

The State is seeking certain information from the THA which must give a detailed response to the following questions:
  1. Did the THA respond to the investor companies’ applications for a licence? What consideration and what was the process to which the application for the licence made by the Culloden investor companies was subjected?
  2. How many applications for licences did the THA receive since 2006?
  3. Have any or all of these applications received no response, and or have any been considered and or approved? Did the applications that were considered or approved differ from that of the investors? If so, how?
  4. If so, what were the circumstances under which the THA took the decision to acquire the Culloden Estate itself?
  5. Whether in its deliberation to acquire Culloden Estate, the THA took into account that there had been or was pending, an application for the grant of a licence for the acquisition of the estate by the investor companies, and if so how did the assembly propose to deal the possible legal fallout from this?
  6. What benefit, if any, would the THA receive from the preliminary work carried out by the investors with respect to the Culloden Estate upon the closure of the sale?

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai