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No bonanza for lawyers, says PM Gonsalves

No bonanza for lawyers, says PM Gonsalves

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Some lawyers in St.Vincent and the Grenadines may have reason to be upset with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, but he claims he does not mind, because his business is not to make them happy.{{more}}

The issue relates to the conveyance of the Mt.Wynne and Peter’s Hope properties, which were used as temporary security in the Sales and Purchase Agreement of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and will now be transferred back to the state-owned National Properties Ltd.

Gonsalves reiterated that when the EC$100 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is paid to the Government’s account at the Bank of St.Vincent and the Grenadines Ltd, formerly the NCB, as part of the Sale and Purchase Agreement, the bank will immediately release two parcels of lands admeasuring 69.295 acres and 52.056 acres respectively. These lands are the Mt.Wynne and Peter’s Hope properties.

At a press conference on Friday, November 19, held at Cabinet Room, Gonsalves said: “I should point out that in order to make certain that no lawyer makes a lot of money on transferring these properties back to National Properties, I had written into the agreement, the conveyance will be prepared by the Attorney General’s Chambers.”

“Can you imagine transferring back approximately $40 million worth of real estate, how much lawyers will charge you? They will have a bonanza. So I am taking away from any lawyer that bonanza and let the Attorney General, who normally makes a normal salary, they make it,” said Gonsalves.

The Prime Minister said had the conveyance been granted to lawyers here to make, they would have been laughing all the way to the bank and maybe go on a world cruise.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves announced that the purchaser of the NCB, the East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd (ECFH), agreed that the NCB’s monetary deposits with British American Insurance Company Limited and Colonial Life Insurance Company Limited will be transferred to the Government or its nominee prior to or after the completion of the sale.

“In cleaning up our balance sheet at the Bank, we made provision for the amount of money which we had in CLICO and the amount of money which we had in British American, so that when the new fifty one per cent purchasers came, we have a clean balance sheet.

“But clearly, if I clean up the balance sheet and the Bank subsequently recovers the money from CLICO and British American, obviously that can’t go to the Bank because that would mean that I will have forty-nine per cent of it and they’ll have fifty-one, but I would have already made provision for it,” said Gonsalves, noting that all the CLICO and British American monies recovered will to the Government.(HN)