Property Matters – Tobago Sandals silence

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Sandals CEO Gebhard Rainer (left) and Minister in Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, MP at a news conference on Tuesday announcing the withdrawal of Sandals from the Tobago resort project.

#barefacts
#finefinefine

This week I will examine the response to Sandals unexpected withdrawal on Tuesday 15th January 2019 from the proposed large-scale development at Buccoo/Golden Grove Estates in Tobago. I was very surprised by Sandals stated refusal to proceed with this Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement in which no private capital was to be invested. When the Press Conference was announced, I believed that the deal for the proposed Resorts was to be signed.

It was clear that the mood from the head table was a gloomy one. The blame for this aborted project was placed on the ‘badgering’ and ‘negative publicity’ from a minority of commentators and political operators.

The striking official silence on the contents and implications of the MoU is damning, given the scale of the project and the amount of political capital which had been invested in the Tobago Sandals proposals. Continue reading “Property Matters – Tobago Sandals silence”

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VIDEO: Civic Entrepreneurship Conference 2015

disclosure today logoThis event was organised by Disclosure Today to make two awards for Civic Entrepreneurship to former AG Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC and Afra Raymond. Maharaj received his award for his outstanding work in creating effective laws which advance the fight against White Collar Crime and promote the Public Goods of Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance. Those laws were the Freedom of Information Act; the Judicial Review Act; the Proceeds of Crime Act; the Prevention of Corruption Act. Raymond was given an award form his successful litigation under the Freedom of Information Act in landmark cases. It was held at La Boucan in Trinidad Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre. Video courtesy Disclosure Today

Programme Date: 16th May 2015
Programme Length: 02:51:25

CL Financial bailout – closing the circle

clf-bailoutThis is an update on my efforts to get the remaining details of the CL Financial bailout in which over $25 Billion of our scarce Public Money has been spent.

Although the details of over 13,200 EFPA claimants who received $10.823 Billion were provided, the Consent Order entered in the Appeal Court on 24th January 2018 has not been fully complied with. The Ministry of Finance is now claiming that the CL Financial accounts relied upon by then Finance Minister, Winston Dookeran, in preparing his 3rd April 2012 affidavit cannot be found. Also missing in action is the list of creditors of CL Financial. I am challenging that non-compliance with the assistance of my attorneys.

After ending the lawsuit in January 2018, I made further requests for information from the Finance Ministry so that we could have all the details of all the payments made in this bailout. Those requests have now escalated to the stage that I have filed a new lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) for the refused details. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – closing the circle”

VIDEO: Panel discussion on Sandals “pull out” on CCN TV6 – 15 January 2019

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On the evening of Tuesday, 15 January 2019, Political Editor at CCN TV6 Juhel Browne (Right) spoke with (L-R) CCN’s Head of the Multimedia Business Desk, Anthony Wilson, UNC Senator Saddam Hosein and Chartered Surveyor and Transparency Advocate Afra Raymond on the turn of events following the withdrawal by the Sandals Group from the deal with the T&T government to manage a Sandal/Beaches resort in Tobago.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW Part I and Part II on CCN TV6

AUDIO: Interview on MORE 104.7 FM on Sandals Tobago “pull out”

Radio More FM 104.7Afra Raymond is interviewed by David Walker on 104.7 MORE FM on the debacle of the collapse of the projected Sandals managed luxury resort in Tobago. The MoU details and the actions of the State in its negotiations towards the MoU are discussed. Audio courtesy MORE 104.7 FM

Programme Date: Thursday 17th January 2019
Programme Length: 00:27:40

VIDEO: The Morning Brew interview re Sandals pull out – 16 January 2019

CNC3 LogoAfra Raymond was interviewed on The Morning Brew on CNC3 Television regarding the pull out of the Sandals Group from the proposed deal to manage a new Sandals and Beaches resort in Tobago. The publication of the details of the memorandum of understanding is questioned as a catalyst for the pull out decision. Video courtesy CNC3 Television

Programme Date: 16 January 2019
Programme Length: 00:12:58

Property Matters – Tobago Sandals Roles

This article will delve into the roles of the various officials and public Institutions who are responsible for this Tobago Sandals MoU.

Information Approach

This process followed the familiar pattern of information management, in which the ‘Underlying Commercial Arrangements’ are intentionally obscured, while other details are selectively provided.

topsecretIt is clear that there was no intention to disclose the MoU, given the strong official resistance to my request under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA). The entire nine-month period of my challenge was one of Carefully Crafted Confusion, with both sides claiming repeatedly that there was no secret, yet at the same time there were serious issues of commercial confidentiality. Of course, only one of those could be the truth. My litigation forced both Sandals and our public officials to decide which version was true, so the MoU was released on the day before our first Court hearing.

That MoU also contains a confidentiality clause which only permits any disclosure with the agreement of the other party. The parties promised each other to keep those important secrets safe. Continue reading “Property Matters – Tobago Sandals Roles”