We have not admitted to owing debt - Ledgister

Published: Friday | December 20, 2013 Comments 0

 

THE EDITOR, Sir:

This is a response to a story published on Sunday, under the headline 'Finsac'd landowner eyes casino licence', aspects of which the writer said was incorrect.

The most alarming error is that "Ledgister, the claimant whose titles were transferred to Finsac subsidiary Refin after failing to service a demand notice from National Commercial Bank in relation to three mortgages held against properties in St Elizabeth and Westmoreland, indicates ... ."

As far as I am aware, what was transferred or reassigned was the mortgage/equitable interest but not the title.

We still own our property and JRF only has an equitable interest, which we are challenging in the courts.

We have not admitted to owing a debt and they have so far failed to prove such a debt after our lawful request for them to validate, verify and authenticate their debt claim.

My position is that there is no "debt" because the imposition of penalty charges on customers' accounts, which were then compounded, was an unlawful act!

The Privy Council, in FIS v Negril Negril, since 2004 made this absolutely clear.

Their position is grounded in various property and mortgage laws.

What indication is there that "the project concept has apparently been tweaked to match the current IRD"?

We do not need to tweak one single thing for this approved project because it was designed and approved as an IRD. We just need the minister to declare it as a potential site that may apply for the casino gaming licence.

I had to read my letter again to see where "In an earlier letter dated October 18, he also said the government should broker deals between joint venture partners and approved site owners".

What I said was and I quote from my letter: "In the limited time that I had to suggest the three-stage approach that should be adopted for this process, I am not certain that I was able to articulate my position clearly enough. It may have appeared as if I was suggesting that the Government should broker deals between JV partner consortiums and approved site owners, but what I was actually suggesting was that the Government should take the lead, through agencies such as JAMPRO and the Ministry of Tourism, to market and promote the casino gaming licence opportunity that is on offer and use its exclusive resources to screen suitable JV partner consortiums to participate in Jamaica."

And I went on to explain the reasons why this Government can barely broker a proper deal for itself, so why would I want them all up in my business and worse, broker a deal for me?!

Up to now I remain baffled on the approach that they have taken to this casino gaming licence thing.

If anyone in Government would exercise some common sense they would look at the map of Jamaica and select six zones for casino development being two on the north coast, MoBay to Ocho Rios region; two on the south coast, our site being strategically located on the border of St Elizabeth, Westmoreland and already approved. Another on the border of Clarendon/St Catherine/Kingston; one each east and west Portland and around Negril.

They should start with those and still encourage others that can be strategically positioned in other parts of the island.

This would motivate and inspire more development, maybe even in the interior of the country.

What you have now are three applicants competing on the north coast in relatively close proximity.

I am curious to know what was the rational for deciding on three such licences without a plan as to their strategic locations. It just does not make sense unless someone can explain it to me.

John Ledgister

 

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