…says AHI’s sole purpose is to unlawfully divert public funds
The construction of the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, is again coming under fire, with A Partnership for
National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament, Desmond Trotman, filing formal Notices of Opposition against the recent mortgages sought by Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI) from Republic Bank Limited. That money has been described by AHI as the syndicated loan it had approached Republic Bank to facilitate and manage.
Published in the November 22, Official Gazette was a notice indicating that AHI was pursuing a first mortgage on the lands and buildings where the Georgetown Marriott is being constructed in Kingston. This however is being challenged by Trotman.
Three official notices were filed with the Deeds Registry on Wednesday last, by Attorneys-at-Law Rex McKay, Neil Boston, Bettina Glasford and Brendan Glasford.
In filing the notice of opposition to the mortgages, Trotman is contending that as a citizen of Guyana, he has a right or interest in the property being mortgaged, since it is public property of the State.
Trotman further contends that he has a duty under Article 32 of the Constitution, “to combat crime and other violations of the law and take care of and protect public property.”
The Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive is adamant that AHI, which is the Special Purpose Vehicle (Company) established by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to build and own the Marriott Hotel, is unlawful.
He further charges that AHI was set up as a subsidiary of NICIL “for the sole and predominant purpose of unlawfully diverting moneys raised by Guyana, which should be paid into the Consolidated Fund, but are used for financing the construction of the Marriott Hotel, a project not approved by Parliament”.
Trotman in his Notice of Opposition argues that AHI is not the competent body to mortgage the property in question or any part of it, without the expressed approval of Parliament.
Three separate notices of opposition have been filed in relation to each of the mortgages sought by AHI for the Hotel project.
Following the publication of the notice in the Official Gazette, AHI in a public missive sought to clear the air and said that the publication of the mortgages is, in fact, concrete evidence that the financial arrangements with Republic Bank Limited are being concluded and that the funding has been committed by the bank.
According to AHI, “the publication of these mortgages is (sic) consistent with standard procedures for the security of a loan agreement and are in line with the financial arrangements published in the feasibility studies for the construction of the hotel project”.
AHI also used the opportunity to remind that the conclusion of the Republic Bank financing is a requirement for the conclusion of the arrangements with the principal investors to acquire 67 per cent of the equity of AHI.
The Notices of Opposition filed by Trotman represent the latest in a string of court action initiated by the Member of Parliament in relation to the pursuit of the Georgetown Marriott Hotel under the existing circumstances.
In October last, Trotman sought a Conservatory Order preventing AHI and its principal, Winston Brassington, from mortgaging, leasing, or in any way transferring the title of the land and building on which the Marriott Hotel sits in Kingston. He had also moved to the court to seek to prevent public funds from being plugged into the US$58M project.
By virtue of a vesting order issued in November 2010, more than six acres of land on which the Marriott sits was transferred to NICIL. This information was published in the Official Gazette and three years later the land was leased for 99 years by NICIL to AHI.
The hotel’s construction is being carried out by Shanghai Construction Group.
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