– But Jags Aviation goes forward with development
Ogle Airport Inc (OAI) has admitted that the leases it granted to mining companies for 50 years have not been approved by the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission.
Yesterday, the company facilitated a meeting with this newspaper at the Eugene F. Correia Airport. Speaking at that meeting were OAI officials, Anthony Mekdeci, Michael Correia, Nicole Correia and OAI Public Relations Consultant, Kit Nascimento.
At that meeting, OAI officials claimed that Kaieteur News attacked the company in the articles that it published.
OAI sought to put forward its side of the stories.
The sub-leasing of lands for 50 years, when the company’s master lease only covers a term of 25 years, was addressed.
Jags Aviation (which is a sister company of BK International), Hopkinson Mining and Air Services Limited, have all been offered 50 year leases.
The Correia’s said that they made such an arrangement in response to companies that wanted greater security for their investments.
Michael Correia presented letters from Jags Aviation and Roraima Airways. Those letters reflected a desire by the companies for longer leases.
Michael Correia said that OAI knows about business and knows that businessmen want security. “That is why we put this provision in place.”
Correia said that when it drafted the lease agreement for the companies, Lands and Surveys noted that it was uncomfortable with the 50-year period. He said that the OAI, and its lawyers along with the lawyers of the respective aviation companies, decided to insert a clause.
That clause states that should the master lease not be renewed, the subleases are to then be considered void.
The clause states, “Provided that if the master lease expires during the said period of 50 years, then this sublease shall thereupon come to an end with no further liability to either party.”
Michael Correia said that the companies were more comfortable with that sort of arrangement.
However, the Lands and Surveys Commission, even according to Correia, was still not comfortable. Hence, those 50-year subleases have not been approved by the Commission.
In actuality, the 50-year subleases have not been granted because they cannot be considered complete unless the Lands and Surveys Commission offers its approval.
Therefore, the development that Jags Aviation has done on its acres of land is not in keeping with the lease agreement. According to the agreement, a land cannot be considered subleased unless approval is given by the Lands and Surveys Commission.
The 2004 letter from Guyana Lands and Survey Commission informing OAI that subleasing of lands for longer periods than the master lease is legally insufficient is now irrelevant according to OAI.
Yesterday, OAI said that it did not have a copy of the letter. When presented with the letter, the company stated that this letter was dated since 2004 and has little relevance now.
Further OAI’s Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Mekdeci, said that that letter was sent in the very initial stages and other leases have been made out further to that.
The referenced letter stated, “We have received your proposed sublease to be issued to users of Ogle Airport Property, and have found that it is legally sufficient, except for the following: We have noted that you intend to issue subleases for a term of twenty-five years.
Please be advised that the term of subleases shall not extend beyond the expiration date of the master lease. As you have indicated, the master lease between the Government of Guyana and Ogle Airport Inc. commenced on the 17th July, 2003; it is for a term of twenty-five years, it will therefore, expire on the 16th July 2028. Any ending term of a sublease must therefore be not later than July 15, 2028.”
The master lease states, “In the event of a sublease of any portion of the Airport, such sublease shall contain a provision stating that all covenants, promises, conditions and obligations contained in this Agreement or covenants running with the land shall bind the sub lessee and its respective heirs, legal representatives, successors and assigns to the obligations set out in this agreement.”
One of the obligations is that the lease will last for only 25 years with an option to extend.
Other issues have been addressed at the meeting.
OAI addressed the issue of leasing lands to Correia Mining Company.
It was noted that Kaieteur News published that Michael Correia who is an original investor in OAI issued land to himself.
OAI said that this is incorrect.
OAI said, “Mr. Correia neither owns, nor has leased for himself, any land at the Airport. All land leased from Ogle Airport Inc. is, in fact, leased under contract, reviewed by a Land Lease Committee appointed by the Board of Directors of OAI.”
When asked, Michael Correia admitted that he is indeed a shareholder in the mining company. He said that it is still not correct to say that land was leased to him. It was just leased to a company in which he has shares.
Nicole Correia, who was present at yesterday’s meeting, is also a member of the Land Lease Committee that the company referenced.
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