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Mt Wynne-Peters Hope.
Mt Wynne-Peters Hope.
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Prime minister Ralph Gonsalves has defended the decision of his government to sell to Canadian investors 36 acres of land at Mt Wynne-Peter’s Hope for EC$7 million, saying it was part of the manifesto on which his government was re-elected to office last December.

But while Gonsalves made that point on Tuesday, the development he outlined for Mt Wynne-Peter’s Hope varies significantly from what he said in July 2015 would have been the case, at which time he said an agreement had already been signed.

Gonsalves told a press conference this week that tourism development in that area was a promise that his Unity Labour Party (ULP) made in the campaign for the December 2015 general elections and that the two main political parties had this as a common policy.

His comments came one week after the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), which purchased the lands for the state in 1989, said that they should be reserved for use by Vincentians.

But Gonsalves said that when the ULP goes to the electorate on the basis of a manifesto and is elected, he intends to carry out the manifesto to the best of his ability.

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“And that is what I am going to do,” Gonsalves said, adding that he is not going to implement the policies of those who lost the elections.

He said the NDP did not contest the proposition that the Mt Wynne-Peter’s Hope lands will be for tourism development.

Gonsalves said that since the lands came to the ownership of the public in 1989, there has been a consensus that the area would be reserved for tourism development.

“The first time that there was a breach in that consensus is recently. The agitation has come from internet crazies, from marginal figures, who have now, apparently, put themselves in control of the New Democratic Party.”

Gonsalves noted that under the NDP, former Prime Minister, Sir James paid EC$5 million for the 681-acre estate in 1989.

The ULP government is selling 36 acres of that land for EC$7 million, Gonsalves said, adding that the EC$5 paid in 1989 is worth about EC$10-12 million today.

He further pointed out the in 2000, then prime minister under the NDP administration, Arnhim Eustace, said in his Budget Address that the Mt Wynne-Peter’s Hope area has been earmarked for hotel development.

Eustace, who is now Leader of the Opposition, said last week that the NDP party is opposed to the sale of the lands to foreigners and will soon unveil an alternative development plan.

But Gonsalves noted the money that the sale of the lands will generate.

“I want it to sink in: the money that I am getting for the price of the land of 36 acres is more money, nominally, than Mitchell [got] the whole 681 acres for,” he said.

He said the investors — who he on Tuesday revealed were Pace Development Inc. of Ontario, Canada — intend to build 50 villas and sell them for US$600,000 each and that the government will get 10 per cent tax on the sale of each villa.

But in July 2015, about five months before Vincentians went to the polls, Gonsalves said that his government had already signed an agreement relating primarily to the construction of a tourism development in the Mt Wynne-Peter’s Hope area but also including a development at a section of the Reclamation Site in Kingstown known as Chinatown.

“It’s a huge investment. The developers, on whom we have done the appropriate due diligence, they will be doing hotel development and also villas. They are doing a golf course with clubhouse.

“The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will retain ownership of the golf course and the clubhouse facilities, but also the management for the hotel, the enterprise will manage it,” Gonsalves told the media.

“The developers also, as part of the consideration, they have agreed to do a creative arts centre and convention centre right here near to this Financial Complex and a boardwalk and shops, where you have Chinatown, as it is called. We need to do an improvement there. We have a broad plan, which we want to do also for Little Tokyo,” he told the press conference in July 2015.

In the ULP’s manifesto for the December 2015 elections, among its fourth-term election pitch, the party spoke of “the huge US$250 million hotel resort development at Mt. Wynne- Peter’s Hope”

Gonsalves said Tuesday that while his government has given the investors a relief in the Alien Land Holding Licence, the government will get the 10 per cent sale tax and if the purchaser is a foreigner, they would also have to pay for an Alien Land Holding Licence.

The NDP has also criticised the government for the price at which the lands were sold — just over EC$5 per square foot, even as lands nearby are being sold for EC$12 per square foot.

Gonsalves said that if the government subdivide the lands, pay the surveyor fees, put in road, light, drains and water, the land would be priced around $12 per square foot.

When developed land is sold at $12 per square foot, essentially the original price of the land is $5 per square foot, Gonsalves said.

He further pointed to some of the conditions of the sale, saying that the investors have to begin construction within one year and complete the project within five years or risk forfeiture of the land.

“If not, it will be open to the government, under the 1922 Alien Land Holding Act, to make an application for forfeiture, just like what we did down at Chatham Bay, when they didn’t carry out the conditions, which Sir James had imposed in the alien handholding licence,” Gonsalves said.

“So, these investors are taking a risk but they know they have to perform within a particular time and the only way that would happen is if I give them an extension or whoever then in government gives them an extension…” Gonsalves said.

Canadian investors to build tourism developments in Mt Wynne, Chinatown

8 replies on “2016 Mt Wynne land deal strikingly different from one ‘signed’ in 2015”

  1. You’re building an international airport, want revenue from tourists, and this controversial? 36 acres of land is not a lot. $600,000 villas is a lot. I’m Canadian. I’ve been spending 2-3 months every winter in St Vincent for 5 years. It’s paradise. I hike and I snorkel. It’s very good for my health. I love the people. If I had the means, I’d buy a villa at Mt Wynne and live there year round. You have huge forested areas. I’d hire guides because you haven’t much of a trail system through that forest. Canadian companies are for the most part, very legitamite, very fair. This won’t be another Buccament. Mt Wynne is an ideal location. North Leeward and Kingstown aren’t very far away. I went diving for the first time last winter at Petit Bordel from the beach. You have incredible diving. You are a hidden gem, and while I’m sad you’re opening an international airport, it certainly helped Barbados a lot economiically

    1. Sir or Madam if you are bona fide tourist why do you find it necessary to use an assumed name.

      Sorry but I suspect you are either part of the group or under instruction from the government.

      1. chovil iis my surname. Look it up on google. I’m quite famous there, My first name is Ian. Iii’m quite bright, have an Hons degree in biology in anthropology, hence my love of your people and snorkelling. Ii mean no harm. II just think this development will elevate you like Barbados, II’m male, can’t understand why Vincentians love fat women. That is very contrary to Canadian beliefs.Ii never drink your very strong rum. It’s much too dangerous.

  2. Proper people with proper money perform, those that fail should never be chosen in the first place. Putting up a deposit does not prove a person or a groups worth. A buyer should prove their existing assets and ability, if they can’t don’t deal with them.

    My suspicion comes from two beliefs. Firstly I believe the value attached to the land is grossly less than it should be. Secondly the failure to announce who the people are puts a big question mark over the whole project and the ability of the buyers.

    As we Vincentians own the land which is being sold surely we should be told whom to?

    1. Unscrew your brain, the builders were announced earlier this week and are listed in the story above, you moron.

      Pace Developments in Richmond Hill, Ontario, north of Toronto:

      30 Wertheim Court, Unit 3, Bldg A
      Richmond Hill, Ontario
      Canada L4B 1B9
      (905) 731-5069 x22
      fax: (905) 731-5269
      [email protected]

      I thought you were on the rock but I guess you left your brain back in jolly-old England, dum-dum. Stop drinking your own Kool Aid, dummy.

      Why not contact them and tell that they paid too much for the land– that the Comrade ripped them off — and please send a link to my 33 essays while you are at it.

      Why do I even waste time with someone so beneath my notice and intellect!

      1. You wish, at least I am not called dopey Dave which Paul has decided to call you.

        Keep up the spite with all your might you silly over opinionated bag of garbage.

        Who would want to send a link to all the past garbage that you wrote, as others have said malicious regurgitated crap. Most of it untrue and spiteful.

        A distinction is sometimes made whereby intellect is considered to be related to “facts” in contrast to intelligence concerning “feelings”. Intellect refers to the cognition and rational mental processes gained through external input rather than internal. Something dopey Dave that you lack is both intelligence and intellect. That is why i am in the position today I am in and why you are still scratching about making a fool of yourself everywhere you go, a man of straw.

        As Mark Twain wrote “If intellect is welcome anywhere in the other world, it is in hell, not heaven.”

        The gods value morals alone; they have paid no compliments to intellect, nor offered it a single reward. If intellect is welcome anywhere in the other world, it is in hell, not heaven.

        You see dopey Dave because you are eaten up and embittered by jealousy leading you to commit spite and maliciousness you actually believe your own lies and have started to live the life of your lies, you are a nobody from nowhere.

        If you can’t behave yourself it may well be for you to go sit in the corner with the dunces hat, where you most obviously belong.

  3. II buy piities of very strong rum in rum joints, then as them a lot of questionsI. i would never drink it myself. Ii drink your Guiness which is very different from Guiness in Canada. I drink 3 and then I have to leave iif I’m on foot, because getting home always means a lot of dangerous climbing.

  4. Ian Chovil, I looked at Google like you said and found that yes you are famous in the medical world and a self taught specialist in your own schizophrenia .

    “I have schizophrenia and have been on medication now since 1990, the length of time I have lived in Guelph. I’m 48 and my schizophrenia started in late adolescence. I struggled for ten years between 1980 and 1990, quite delusional, and very poor. I eventually got in trouble with the law and received three years probation with the condition that I see a psychiatrist for those three years. I’ve been to jail, been actively alcoholic, attempted suicide, and been homeless. My story illustrates an interplay of biology and sociology that can make schizophrenia a devastating illness. There is the illness itself, and the way we, as a society, treat people who develop it.

    “There is good cause for optimism though. The atypical medications are more effective with fewer side effects. There is growing recognition of the value of early intervention and relapse prevention. The public is developing an interest in schizophrenia. These three trends promise a far less destructive schizophrenia then what I had to experience.

    Ian Chovil

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