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Grenada Land Sale Ban

Source: Caribbean Life
Grenada’s year-old government says it is moving to ban the sale of lands on its globally known, two-mile-long Grand Anse Beach, ensuring that the state, rather than private interests, has full control of an important piece of the national patrimony.

The move to head to parliament to enact such a law has come in the midst of an ongoing feud between the owner of the Radisson Grand Beach Resort and international Grand Prix racing champion Lewis Hamilton over control of a portion of a property in the same beach area.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain stands in the pit-lane after the qualifying at the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2020.

The Today newspaper reported this week that nearly two decades ago, the previous Keith Mitchell administration had sold state lands on the beach occupied by Issa Nicholas to Hamilton as part of a deal allowing the state to use Hamilton’s name in promoting Grenada’s tourism product worldwide. Hamilton who has Grenadian roots was to acquire the property from Nicholas and reportedly turn it into a world-class facility but the entire process was not followed through. Current Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell says the time has come to end the sale of all lands on the beach, allowing only permits for land leases rather than outright sales. The publication says that Hamilton had wanted authorities to review the price of the property because he believes it was overvalued.

“We intend to pass legislation and we hope we can get bi-partisan support on this that says that all lands on Grand Anse Beach which are not already freehold should remain leasehold. I am saying lands that are owned by the government and people of Grenada,” he said. “We want to ensure that in going forward we give upcoming generations of Grenadians the opportunity to enjoy Grand Anse Beach, the opportunity to enjoy the patrimony that we enjoy now by having access to the beach. We think it is critical also to ensure that when we lease those lands to persons that they perform, if they don’t perform the lease itself will spell out the consequences of non-performance so that the government and people will get another developer, another investor, another businessman who then will perform without having to go through, without having to reacquire or nationalize these assets,” PM Mitchell told a local radio program.

Selling state lands outright means the government will no longer collect rent or lease payments. He said the cabinet regrets the stalemate between Hamilton and Nicholas. “Our government, which was collecting the rent chose to transfer the freehold to a third party (Hamilton) who collects the rent and that third party does not have possession of the site so there is no way they could develop the site because the lessee (Nicholas) has a 99-year lease. That’s the kind of thing that blows my mind as to how reckless in some regards the former administration has been in terms of treating and ensuring that you enter into sensible commercial arrangements with people to ensure that they do what they say they’re going to do, monitor their performance.”