Lovell et al file action to nullify GPH agreement

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An action has been filed in the High Court, seeking to have the Global Ports Holding (GPH) agreement declared null and void.

Yesterday, the political leader of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, filed a leave for judicial review in his capacity as an Attorney along with three claimants – George Ryan, James Spencer and Clefrin “Chalkie” Colbourne.

According to copies of the court documents obtained by OBSERVER media, the applicants are challenging the decision by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to enter into the agreement without first making an application to the Tenders Board.

The trio said the decision was made without informing those affected or concerned by the decision, including – but not limited to – the St. John’s Development Corporation (SJDC).

The claimants are also challenging the government’s decision because, according to them, the agreement is in breach of the Finance Administration Act of 2006.

The government recently entered into a 30-year agreement with GPH to invest over US $80 million for the further development of the St. John’s Harbour – which includes the cruise ship docking facilities at Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay.

That agreement, however, has faced mounting pressure from a wide spectrum of society – including the opposition UPP, taxi operators and citizens – who claim that the deal is a bad one that was signed in the “dark of night”.

The government is nonetheless insisting that the deal is in the best interests of the country.

To date, the government announced two amendments (post signing) to the agreement, one of which is in relation to the 30-year exclusivity granted to GPH, which the administration claims has since been changed to 10 years.

The other modification allows for Antiguans and Barbudans to purchase shares in GPH.

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