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Grenada wants land back


marciadottin, [email protected]

Grenada wants land back

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St GEORGE’S – The Grenada government says it is moving to regain ownership of the 20 acres of prime beach property that was given to former British-born World Formula One champion, Lewis Hamilton, two years ago.
The deal between Hamilton, who has Grenadian roots and the Trinidad and Tobago-based hotelier, Issa Nicholas, collapsed two years ago.
A special Cabinet sub-Committee is holding talks with Time Burke, a London based company representing Hamilton and Finance Minister Nizam Burke said that while “I am not at liberty to disclose who they are at the moment . . . we have had several meetings, much of them by teleconference”.
Hamilton had expressed an interest in buying the Grand Beach Resort, the island’s largest hotel owned by Nicholas on condition that government transfers ownership of the land to him.
The agreement also allows the Grenada government to use Hamilton’s image to market the island as a tourist destination.
The title deed to the land was transferred to Hamilton a day before the general elections in 2008 that resulted in the defeat of the Keith Mitchell administration.
But Hamilton and Nicholas have been unable to agree on a price for the sale of the hotel.
Hamilton is reported to have lost his 10 per cent deposit on the project, estimated at EC$4 million (US$1.4 million), after missing the deadline to complete payment of an originally agreed EC$40 million (US$14.8 million) for the 240 room resort.
“In the discussions with both Hamilton and Issa Nicholas, they have admitted that discussions have broken down,” said Housing Minister Senator Glen Noel.
“There was a deadline set by which Hamilton had to pay the EC$40 million and when he didn’t pay, the 10 per cent of that EC$40 million which is EC$4 million, was lost,” he added.
The collapsed deal between Hamilton and Nicholas has been a subject of intense political wrangling between the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition New National Party (NNP).
Under the arrangement, Hamilton was supposed to have secured the lease to the Grand Beach property and start rebuilding a new hotel by 2011.
If this deadline is missed, there is a provision for the Grenada government to pay Hamilton EC$15 million (US$5.5 million) and re-acquire the freehold on the 20 acres of land. (CMC)

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