KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The government might be in a position to acquire the LIME building because of a 1988 lease agreement.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament yesterday that LIME’s lease agreement with the government expired in 2008 and had not been renewed.

He made the point while responding to a question from West Kingstown Member of Parliament Daniel Cummings regarding the exact terms and conditions under which the car park in Kingstown, built by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, was granted to a Solidarity Inc. to manage.

Gonsalves said that the now opposition New Democratic Party, in lease 696 of 1988, leased to Cable and Wireless – now LIME – the land on which its building is constructed.

According to the lease, the company was to pay the government EC$2,000 for each of the first 10 years and EC$4,000 for each of the following 10 years.

“I just want to say that under the Cable and Wireless lease, they have a 10-year option after the 20 years, as it says, … the rent would be based on the current value of the premises. Now, since 2008, we haven’t collected one red cent because we haven’t had an agreement as to how much it would be,” he told lawmakers.

“Now, you know if a lease comes to an end, under the law of this country and there is no payment for anything further and there is no continuation, the building which is on it also belongs to the lessor,” Gonsalves said.

“… When everybody wants to do things with government and to treat government as though its an NGO, I haven’t said anything about this and I only say something about it now because this question is being raised,” he further stated.

Gonsalves at a recent press conference, in which he announced forensic audit of six international companies operating here, also spoke of entities wanting to treat the government as an NGO.

He made the point while discussing the move by LIME to disconnect government telephones because of non-payment of bills.

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