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Rent arrears on ULP headquarters paid – PM


All arrears owed by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) for rental of the building which houses the party’s official headquarters at Richmond Hill have been paid.

Last week, it was reported that the political party had not paid rent since February 2011 and owed the landlord Lionel Coombs over $100,000.{{more}} As a result, a notice to vacate the building in one month was sent by Coombs’ lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Browne to the general secretary of the party, Julian Francis, who was responsible for making rent payments.

The “Notice to Quit” sent by Bacchus-Browne demanded that the sum of $96,000 arrears, plus $9,600 interest and $1,380.00 costs be paid in the name Kay Bacchus-Browne on or before March 31, 2015 or a Law Suit would be filed without further notice.

“Before that letter was even written, the general secretary had paid half of the arrears to a friend of the landlord, who normally does his business because the landlord lives overseas. I expect that the remainder of the arrears will be paid either today or tomorrow. I happen to know that the party has the resources to pay the arrears,” said Prime Minister and political leader of the ULP Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Monday, during a press conference.

It was confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday morning, that all outstanding fees had been paid the day before.

According to Gonsalves, the party had not yet received the “Notice to Quit” which was sent by Coombs’s lawyer, when the information was published in a local newspaper.

“I’m not saying for a moment that if information comes to a newspaper of that kind, that a newspaper would not publish. I’m saying the release of information from whichever source it came is what you would call mischief. That’s the point I’m making because there is a professional relationship between landlord and tenant,” he said.

However, Gonsalves indicated that it was the party’s intent to purchase the building.

“I had a conversation on Saturday with the owner and he is willing to sell … and we will purchase the property. That is the intention of the political leader of the Unity Labour Party and we will do a contract in the normal way,” he told reporters.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the property is valued between $1 million and $1.2 million. (BK)