Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Holness, two sons owners of St Lucia-based company

Published:Monday | February 15, 2016 | 2:20 PM
Jamaica Labour Party leader Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet with their sons Adam and Matthew.

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

More information has emerged about the ownership structure of the St Lucia-based company believed to have purchased the Beverly Hill, St Andrew property where Jamaica

Labour Party (JLP) Leader Andrew Holness is building a new house.

Documents obtained by The Gleaner show that in 2011, the title for the property was transferred from a St Andrew businesswoman to ADMAT Incorporated, a company registered in St Lucia.

Attorney-at-law Patrick Bailey, who acknowledged signing the transfer documents as a witness, revealed today that the company is named after Holness' two sons, Adam and Matthew.

Bailey says the JLP leader holds a 50 per cent stake in the company, with the other two shareholders Adam and Matthew Holness each holding a 25 per cent stake in the entity.

He says Holness' wife, Juliet, stands to inherit her husband's stake in the company through his will.

According to Bailey, ADMAT was set up as a trust company for Holness' children.

He says the purchase of the Beverly Hills property was done to ensure that it passes to them in the future.

The JLP leader has come under pressure from the People's National Party (PNP) and the corruption watchdog group National Integrity Action to release details about the purchase of the property and the construction now taking place there.

The documents obtained by The Gleaner indicate that the transfer title was signed by Holness in 2011 while he was the Education Minister in the Bruce Golding-led Government.

The title had the notation "while on a visit to Jamaica."

But Bailey says this is standard legal practice under Jamaican law when an overseas company is involved in the transfer of titles locally.

He explained that section 152 of the Registration of Titles Act requires that land transfers be witnessed by an attorney.

"I think what is giving people problem are the words 'on a visit to Jamaica'," Bailey said, acknowledging that he understood the concerns.

However, Bailey asserted that it’s the attorney for the previous owner of the property who insisted on the use of the notation, maintaining that it is allowed under Jamaican law.

"What the Titles Office does is that they send a requisition and ask where was it witnessed. And they usually have the formats 'witnessed in Jamaica', 'witnessed while in Jamaica' or 'witnessed while on a visit to Jamaica' ... different variations to show that it was signed in Jamaica," he explained.

"The Titles Office accepted that and processed the matter and the title is now in the name of Admat Incorporated," he said.