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Owner of Half Moon Bay Holdings applies to court to demand compensation from WIOC sales


By Elesha George

[email protected]

The former owner of Half Moon Bay Hotel, Natalia Querard has applied to the High Court to seek compensation for the sale of shares in the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC).

In an application for interim relief, Querard said that the attorney general – as represented in the application – had breached the terms of a charging order given by the court, by offering the public a collective 10 percent share in the oil storage company. For that reason, she also accused the government of contempt of court.

Querard is asking the court to temporarily restrain the government and its agents from further selling, charging, or disposing of any shares that it owns or controls in WIOC.

She also wants the government and the West Indies Oil Company Ltd to pay the proceeds of its sale of shares to her. She valued those shares at US$19,175,673.59.

Querard wants the court to make a decision before next Wednesday which is when the shares will no longer be available to the public for sale.

In May 2014, the Privy Council ruled that Querard should be compensated US$26.6 million after the government compulsorily acquired her hotel property. The decision included interest payments at an annual rate of 10.25 percent on the unpaid debt between 2007 and 2011 and 4 percent from January 2011 until the date of payment.

In August 2020, the government, through its attorney, Anthony Astaphan, agreed not to transfer, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of any shares, including that of WIOC’s, until the appeal is heard by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) to determine how Querard would be compensated the balance of the amount owed for her property.

However, on March 24, 2020, the government made 10 percent of its 51 percent shares in WIOC available for sale to the public. It was the culmination of a promise made three years prior.



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