KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A lawyer for the Ottley Hall Commission of Inquiry has undertaken not to commence any hearing of the inquiry that may affect former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell until the hearing of an appeal, expected sometime next year.
Attorney Joseph Delves gave the undertaking on behalf of Ephraim Fancis Georges and the court granted a consent order, sources tell I-Witness News.
Louise Mitchell Joseph appeared before the court on behalf of Sir James — her father — seeking a stay of proceedings of the Inquiry until the hearing of the appeal brought by Sir James.
The substance of the appeal is the claim by Sir James that the Inquiry is politically motivated and biased and as such should be quashed.
Sir James lost the case at the High Court during a hearing before Justice Gertel Thom.
The appeal is expected to be heard in 2012.
The Inquiry was launched in 2003 to inquire into the facts and circumstances of the Ottley Hall and Union Island Projects.
The marina, which was build in 1993 when Mitchell’s New Democratic Party was in office, was subsequently valued at between EC$3.5 million and EC$7 million but left the nation with a debt of EC$200 million.
This country has so far spent EC$3.79 million in its eight-year-old attempt to find out who, if anyone, is culpable for discrepancies between the amount of money reportedly spent on the project and its actual value.
The Inquiry was instrumental in the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party government securing debt relief when the country still owed EC$180 million on the project constructed by the New Democratic Party administration under Sir James’ leadership.