Court date set for hearing legal arguments in GPH multi-million dollar contract


Attorney Harold Lovell says legal arguments in the application in the High Court seeking to have the multi-million dollar agreement signed between the Antigua and Barbuda government and the London-based Global Ports Holding (GPH) as null and void, will begin on June 4.

Lovell, who is the leader of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) is representing the claimants, Sir George Ryan, James Spencer and Clefrin “Chalkie” Colbourn, whom he described as the “three patriots”.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne (Left) and Opposition leader, Harold Lovell (File Photo)

“We made the application for leave to apply for judicial review. The Court on the strength of the pleadings that we have submitted so far in the application granted us leave.

“We are now required to file what is known as a fixed date claim form, and we must do this by the 15th and the date for the first hearing has been set at the fourth of June. So we are preparing and we are going forward because this is a very important case for the rule of law in Antigua and Barbuda,” he added.

The claimants are arguing that the Gaston Browne administration had entered into the agreement with GPH earlier this year without first making an application to the Tenders Board.

According to the court documents, the applicants are contending that the decision was made without informing those affected or concerned by the decision.

They are also arguing that the agreement is in breach of the Finance Administration Act of 2006.

The existing agreement with GPH announced in February allows for US$21 million to end the bond with Antigua Commercial Bank (ACB), US$40 million to construct the new pier, US$25 million to construct new shops, five million grant to fund local entrepreneurship and a further US$2 million to improve the environment at Heritage Key.

The GPH, established in 2004, promotes itself on its website as the world’s largest cruise port operator with an established presence in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia-Pacific regions, including extensive commercial port operations in Turkey and Montenegro.

Under the terms of the 30-year agreement, GPH will take over the management of cruise ports here in exchange for infrastructure and debt payments, wiping away the US$21 million debt for the pier. In addition, GPH will complete the fifth port to allow the port to handle larger ships, capable of carrying at least 6,000 passengers, as well as the enhancement of the current Heritage Mall properties and the development of other facilities.

Last month, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said GPH was willing to allow Caribbean nationals to purchase shares in the company.
Last week, the government announced that GPH chairman, “along with two of his advisers, and the government’s lawyer, have been collaborating on fighting the frivolous case brought by the United Progressive Party (UPP) Leader who is trying to retard the port project;”

A statement issued after the weekly Cabinet meeting noted that Lovell, “acting as a lawyer, has filed unwarranted lawsuits against the Government.

“The UPP Leader, the lawyer, told the Antigua and Barbuda public that a Judge of the High Court has determined that the lawsuits he filed have merit; that untruthful claim was rejected by the lawyer. There was no ex parte hearing.
“While the poorly argued and badly constructed pleadings submitted by the UPP lawyer are indefensible, the government’s lawyer would nevertheless arm himself, as any competent defense attorney should, with the appropriate responses in his submissions that are due in a few weeks,” the statement noted.

It said that no precise date for a trial can be determined at this stage, “however, a trial date will likely be several months away”.

Meanwhile, the government also announced that Global Ports Holding Antigua has “confirmed that it has entered into a partnership with one of the major cruise lines, whose principals have expressed an interest in constructing its own on-land entertainment center for the benefit of its disembarking passengers”

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  1. Harold- with the restoration of lost cruise calls, the new partnership with Royal Caribbean and other changes the GPH agreement is in a much better position. Right now you’re simply engaging in sabotage and badmind. You… Harold… who entertained a proposal to GIVE AWAY the whole port to Sweet Homes (AKA Mr Abdul Satta Dero) of Ajman, UAE.

    Tell us about the INCOME TAX that your incompetent PRO said you will “revisit” after UPP get’s back into government. Didn’t you say last election that income tax would be gone forever for the sake of “fiscal predictability”? Or can you simply not make up your mind as usual?

  2. Locus Standi
    “the right or ability to bring a legal action to a court of law, or to appear in a court”
    I’m not a legal luminary but this legal argument comes to mind in this case. Do the claimants have Locus Standi in this case. Are they affected by this decision indirectly. Even if it were that the government did not do what they claiming. And when looking for investors does one have to go to the Tenders’ Board. Which in a way is just a rubber stamp anyway cause how many times has the TB not given waivers. Yes I understand government cannot operate outside the law. But the UPP should look at their time in office. When the court handed down their decision in respect of Sir Gerald Watt and the ABEC case, the PM said the hell with the court, their are more than one way to skin a cat. And they went to Parliament and change the Act. So doesn’t Harold as a good lawyer think that the government cannot find a way out in case they lose?

  3. Has Chalkie learned to read and write and spell his name yet? Does he know what he is getting himself roped into with Harold and George Ryan?

  4. Harry ‘Banging Post’ Lovell and company really think Antigua people chupid and forgetful. Harry and Co. should just give it a rest and put all this time and energy into Jamal Pringle cause Lard da boi need help.

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