Owners avert Harlequin freeze of assets
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A British court has rejected a bid to freeze the assets of Harlequin Property and Buccament Bay Resort, the five star hotel it owns in the island.
The move towards the British court is the latest move by British investors to recoup their money.
Ann Wells, Harlequin’s head of sales, said solicitors for six purchasers of properties at Buccament Bay Resort, applied for a freezing order against Harlequin Property and Buccament Bay Resort Ltd.
The bid to freeze the assets was ended after the investors, who were trying to get back a total of 500,000 pounds sterling (US$1.48 cents), were paid out.
“Harlequin is pleased to say that the court refused to grant the application and we are trading as normal,” Wells said in a statement, adding that Harlequin denies any wrongdoing and looks forward to clearing its name in relation to the other allegations that are currently being referred to in the press.
Media reports say Harlequin has sold 6 000 off-plan holiday units since 2005 but built just 300 at Buccament Bay.
Gareth Fatchett, solicitor for the firm that brought the case, said that their primary aim was for the return of the six investors’ deposits.
“We now have 20 more investors seeking refunds due to missed completion dates,” said Fatchett, who visited St Vincent in February as part of the case.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in a letter to the BBC last week, said he appreciates “the concerns of individual investors who placed investments with Harlequin.
“I am uneasy, too, about some local suppliers of goods and services in St Vincent and the Grenadines who may not been paid in full on a timely basis,” he said, in a letter in which he complained about an encounter with two BBC journalists in Barbados in February.
“As far as the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is concerned, we have done nothing wrong or improper. Like Barbados and St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines facilitated the investment by offering the usual investment incentives.
“Thus, the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines cannot be held responsible for any investment of management challenges of the Developers of disputes between them and those in the United Kingdom who are disgruntled for one reason or another. These are for the Developers to resolve,” he said in the letter to Tim Giles, editor of the BBC’s “Panorama”, which is producing an investigative piece about Harlequin. (CMC)