ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – The United Kingdom-based Rex Retorts has described as “likely illegal” the move by the Grenada government to “seize The Grenadian by Rex Resorts” on the island.
Economic and Planning Minister Oliver Joseph said Tuesday that the government had established an assessment board to determine the true value of the Grenadian by Rex Resort as part of the process of acquiring the land and the property.
“The Assessment Board is to determine the true value of the property so that the necessary compensation can be made” he told reporters.
In December 2016, the High Court ruled that Government has the right to acquire the property but it must be done in strict compliance with the island’s acquisition legislation.
Last February the Keith Mitchell government placed a notice in the official Gazette informing the public and the owners that it would be acquiring the property.
But in March, the management company of The Grenadian by Rex Resorts, filed an affidavit and injunction to prevent the government from revoking the company’s 99-year lease and take control of the 30 acre property. The hotel is one of Grenadian biggest property with its more than 200 rooms.
In her oral judgment on December 15, High Court Judge Wynante Adrien-Roberts said while the acquisition cannot be stop there was indeed an error in the published acquisition notice.
Following the ruling, the process for reclaiming began and the first notice was published in the December 23rd 2016 issue of the Gazette. The notice said Lands Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, fisheries and Environment Trevor Barclay, was appointed to be the authorized Officer for the purpose of the acquisition of the leasehold interest in the property.
The law mandates that an acquisition notice must be published twice in the gazette and upon the second publication the property is to be vested to the State.
Joseph has remained quiet on who’s the likely new investor indicating that the government prefers to wait until the acquisition is complete before making any announcement.
But in a statement Wednesday, the chief executive officer of Rex Resorts, Richard Bryson, described the move as a “second attempt to seize The Grenadian by Rex Resorts – a fully operational hotel currently complying with all the terms of its 99-year lease with the Government”.
He said the actions taken by the Grenada government “to seize The Grenadian lack transparency, are ill-conceived, ill-executed, and likely illegal.
“As the first international hotel operator to invest in Grenada a quarter century ago, we have brought thousands of visitors to the island, provided good-paying jobs to many, and hosted countless events for our neighbors and international guests. In the process, we have made good on every aspect of the 99-year lease we signed with the Government 25 years ago.”
He said Rex Resorts has laid out detailed development plans for the government that will further enhance and elevate The Grenadian to a four-star resort standard.
“This investment of US$12 million that we have proposed for this year alone, which is in addition to the millions we have invested over the past few years, further demonstrates our commitment to Grenada and this property.
“In addition to this investment, we have commitments from Air Canada Vacations to increase the airlift to Grenada and a commitment from other airlift partners and travel agencies in the United States and United Kingdom to bring additional guests to Grenada.”
Bryson said Rex Resorts remains as committed to Grenada now “as we were more than 25 years ago when we were the first international hotel operator to invest here”.
In a statement addressed to the hotel guests, Bryson said the hotel remains “open for business and intend to honor your reservations.
“We look forward to hosting you. To our valued suppliers and partners here in Grenada, your continued support is much appreciated. We remain committed to you, as you have been to us over the years. To our dedicated employees, your continued support and service to our guests is what makes The Grenadian a destination for so many new and returning guests.”
He said that while the action by the Government is “unfortunate, Rex Resorts is eager to put this matter behind us and move forward with executing the property enhancement plans we’ve outlined for the Government in the very near future”.