– insists Brian James not a director
Government has admitted selling off over 10 acres of land at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara – which has been the source of litigation – to a Trinidad-based company that wants to build a movie and entertainment complex.
The sod-turning of MovieTowne was scheduled for last Thursday, but cancelled the same day. One day before, a judge had granted injunction ordering equipment, workers and others off the land until a determination could be made on an injunction application filed by Toolsie Persaud Limited.
Over the weekend, Kaieteur News broke the story on the legal battle over a tract of land at Turkeyen, part of which included the piece which MovieTowne was set to be built on.
Late Monday night, the government accused Kaieteur News of publishing yet another “biased” and “irresponsible” report.
The newspaper had reported on the court documents and what it knew of the sod-turning ceremony.
“The article appears to be totally a publication of what Mr. Toolsie Persaud has stated in court papers. The article makes no attempt to ascertain the facts or to present a balanced view,” the statement from government said.
It is unclear what government meant by “ascertain the facts” since newspapers and the media are barred from commenting or seeking comments on matters before the court…at least until they have concluded.
Kaieteur News had mentioned that the invitation for the sod-turning event at Turkeyen had the printed name of businessman, Brian James, an official of Auto Supplies Limited.
Addressing this, the statement said that by referencing associates of the Government, the Kaieteur News “again seeks to distort the true facts of the matter.”
While not naming Brian James, government insisted that he is neither an officer or shareholder of Multi-Cinemas (Guyana) Inc or its sister company.
The statement did not mention the fact that Brian James’ Auto Supplies offices at 306 Peter Rose Streets, Queenstown, is the same registered address of Multicinemas Guyana Inc.
“Government considers KN article to be a total mis-representation. Contrary to the report in KN, the CCJ never ordered Government to transfer title to TPL.”
Kaieteur News was only reporting on what court documents said.
“Government asserts that the sale of land owned by Government, with such ownership rights being re-affirmed by the CCJ, is proper. Given that this matter is currently before the courts, Government will address the details of this matter at an appropriate time in the future.”
It is unclear again what the government meant since by issuing the statement it is already providing the details of the matter.
The government said that the article erroneously states that the land is owned by Toolsie Persaud Limited. “The land is owned by the Government as re-affirmed by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in July 2008. Despite judgment in favour of the Government, by the highest court subscribed to by Guyana, the CCJ, Mr. Toolsie Persaud continues to seek to frustrate Government’s attempt to develop the area, via their legal action in the local courts.”
The government insisted that it has pursued the development of these lands in an open and transparent manner.
“Government’s plans to unveil the creation of a Movietowne and Entertainment Complex in Guyana, at the said location at Liliendaal, is thwarted by Mr. Toolsie Persaud’s abuse of the legal system.”
The government went further and admitted that earlier this year, via National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), it sold 10.002 acres of land to Multi Cinemas (Guyana) Inc, the sister company of the Trinidadian company Multi Cinemas Inc, that owns Movietowne in Trinidad, to develop a similar project in Guyana.
“This sale and passage of title was completed in early August.”
At the centre of the issue of the controversy is a piece of prime real estate. The land is immediately west of the UG Access Road and facing the East Coast Demerara Public Road.
Toolsie Persaud Limited has taken the Attorney General, NICIL and the movie theatre company to court to halt the construction of the project.
The heavy equipment that had been working on the land was removed shortly after the injunction was granted.
Toolsie Persaud Limited is contending that it will not accept compensation since it is the rightful owner of the land, having purchased it in 1987 via an agreement of sale with government.
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