Gov’t purchase of Deluxe building in limbo

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The government’s controversial acquisition of the Deluxe Cinema in St. John’s remains in limbo.

Since confirming to buy the building for use as a performing arts centre the EC$ 8 million deal is yet to be inked.

Political observers see the government’s decision to buy the building as a bailout for a friend given the ownership interest of Foreign Affairs Minister Charles Fernandez.

Culture Minister Paul Greene told a local radio station this morning that four months later the sale has not materialized.

“I want to be clear because I’m hearing a lot of talks, the building has not been purchase by the government.”

And he says the use of the building for a development of the performing arts has not been confirmed.

“As the ministry of culture, we did make representation, they did certain preparatory work to verify and ascertain that the building could be used for the purpose of a cultural space.”

Information Minister Melford Nicholas said in March that purchasing the building which also houses KFC and Burger King is a good investment.

He says the building is worth EC$ 11 so the government will purchase below market value.

It is not certain why the government has not moved on the sale, but if it does, its likely to face additional criticism from those who’ve labeled the deal corrupt.

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