Businessman Marcus DeFreitas. (iWN file photo)

Sixteen years after acquiring his property and 14 years after a tribunal ordered the payout, the Ralph Gonsalves government has finally decided to pay former Member of Parliament Marcus DeFreitas.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves did not mention DeFreitas by name when he announced the decision on Wednesday, but all indications are that he was referring to DeFreitas’ case.

“There’re some other property owners which we’re trying to settle and there was one which is long standing. I don’t have to call the name. I’ve given instructions, having taken proper advice from the various officials of state. We will put a certain sum in the Treasury because it’s being held up,” Gonsalves said on NBC Radio.

He said that while people think that the government was holding up the payment, that was not the case.

“The matter went to a tribunal then it went on appeal. Then there was to be a new tribunal and there were problems, delays and for one reason or another.

“Anyway, we put a sum of money. If they’re not satisfied with that, they can take that money and say well they’re going to the tribunal for more but at least, and particularly now that we are going to have an imminent developmental use for the property,” Gonsalves said.

The “imminent developmental use” that the prime minister spoke of was the proposed erection of a hall of justice and a Parliament building on the land, using US$20 million borrowed from Taiwan.

Some persons have pointed to the irony of the government moving to build a hall of justice and a Parliament at the site of what they say is one of the greatest injustices that the Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party administration has perpetrated as far as land acquisition is concerned, since coming to office in March 2001.

On Oct. 3, 2008, the Land Acquisition Act Board of Assessment, chaired by High Court judge Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle, ordered the Gonsalves government to pay DeFreitas Investment Holdings Ltd. (DIHL) EC$4,140,000 in costs and compensation for a property at Murray’s Road, which was acquired in 2004.

The government had offered to pay EC$1,743,785 for the property.

DeFreitas, a businessman who was also Member of Parliament for West St. George under the New Democratic Party administration, had claimed EC$6,810,933.63 in compensation for his property and business.

The amount was made up of $4,130,850 for the 40,659 square foot of land and the buildings thereon and EC$2,680,083.63 for loss of business, loss of profit, loss of potential profit, and deprivation of business as a going concern

The Government was also ordered to pay DIHL costs of EC$20,000, with interest accruing on the total at 5% per annum from Oct. 2, 2008.

A source close to De Freitas said he has not been paid a single cent for the property, even as the government paid some EC$4 million for an even smaller parcel of land that it acquired nearby.

7 replies on “After 14 years, gov’t decides to pay Marcus DeFreitas”

  1. Calliaquaman says:

    #Trumpism at best# #Tick Toc# Tick Toc# Tick Toc, you fool me once not this time.

    Truth never hurt no one try it some day sir, and you will feel from your conscience and guilt. #And stop the lying# you win that competition many many years ago.

    This is an Election. Gimmick. You will not get any sympathy votes. Others are waiting.

    Are the Tribunal personal still alive or dead Mr. PM?. Sixteen years later.
    The covid 19 is weighing you down and how fragile live is you may be pondering and trying to clean up I will like you to clean up the the Cement Distribution Center in Calliaqua . shame on you.

    Is the people health in Kingstown better than us in Calliaqua?

    This was the reason you given to take away Marcus property . #cement dust ,cement dust. cement dust # all over town and so is the same in Calliaqua dust all over the place will you #do something##

    Truth never lie! Sir. Prove it.

    My to cents

  2. What kind of government would behave so disgustingly towards their citizens, delaying payment for property acquired despite numerous notices of hardship and repeater request for payment?

    I will tell you, one that doesn’t care about them! A delinquent administration that is headed up by an entitled family dictatorship. Where was the Love there in watching citizens suffer hardship while payment was being denied? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9-4bqZhxts Was that action socialist or soul-less? Vincentians can decide if they truly want a life with gain or one with much pain!

    Bocoma here it come again!

  3. Nathan Jolly Green says:

    Here is evidence of gross human rights abuse against Marcus DeFreitus. Here is a gross injustice under any system. This flows directly from the spite and mallice of one man. One of the most undemocratic actions ever inflicted on a Vincentian citizen.

    May I suggest he is only being paid now because there is international focus on our PM regarding his loss of the Democracy prize, the BBC, Fox News, they are all investigating what is happenining and what has happened in SVG invluding bribing people with building materials prior to the upcoming elections.

    It will explode and it will be SVG that gets the bad name not the real culprit.

  4. Kebrena Richard says:

    Solidarity ! with socialism and communism ! What has happen to this land we love home of the BLESSED we are in solidarity with DICTATORSHIP and bondage of other nations and their people we are even celebrating these Godless dictators government regime here under this leadership of a prime minister have we forgotten we are a Christian island nations under God Jehovah jesus what a disgrace !!!!

  5. Solidarity ! with socialism and communism ! What has happen to this land we love home of the BLESSED we are in solidarity with DICTATORSHIP and bondage of other nations and their people we are even celebrating these Godless dictators government regime here under this leadership of a prime minister have we forgotten we are a Christian island nations under God Jehovah jesus what a disgrace !!!!

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