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I need to speak with PM

News day / The Golden Grove/Buccoo Company Ltd was formed to negotiate with Sandals.

The Board of the company met last week but, Wilson told Newsday, not much was discussed as further developments were dependent on the completion of the court matter involving shareholders and the winding up of CL Financial by Government. He reiterated this position when asked to comment on the Prime Minister’s announcement last Thursday that Government had purchased the Buccoo/Golden Grove Estate for $174M, to make it available to Sandals for its Tobago resort.

“I still need to speak with the Prime Minister…he would know more than I would because he would have an idea as to what the plans are in respect of the lands. I need to speak with him to find out where we are because I don’t have a good grasp at this point,” Wilson said. He reiterated that the court matter with Clico’s land assets was hindering discussions in that it had a bearing on location for the Sandals resort.

Rowley, speaking at the weekly post Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s last Thursday, announced that Government had purchased the land at market value and it will be offered to Sandals’ chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart for the construction of two hotel resorts comprising 750 rooms. He said the resort will not be built on No Man’s Land but on Buccoo Estate.

He said the land on which the hotel is to be built was owned by two companies and the Government, “quite properly, through the relevant authority in all of this, set off the monies owed for the value of those lands.” Rowley said people opposed to the Sandals project had been alleging that Government took land from this very wealthy company below value and probably broke the law.

He said this was not true. The Prime Minister said the law required the disposal of any assets held under the Central Bank to be done at fair market value and, “that is exactly what the Government did.” Asked about reports that the long dormant Buccoo Reef Trust is to be revived to help with negotiations in the setting up of the Sandals resort, Director of the Trust Gerry MacFarlane said he had, “no information on that.”

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