Gov’t to discuss way forward on Movietowne land – Harmon
Minister of State Joseph Harmon says Cabinet will have to discuss the way forward after the High Court ruled that the land which was bought by Multcinemas Guyana Inc. (MovieTowne) from the Government for some $187 million is actually the property of private firm, Toolsie Persaud Limited (TPL).
Last week, Justice Brassington Reynolds ordered that the Government of Guyana pay over $1.7 billion in damages to TPL, after losing its challenge to the company’s ownership of several plots of land at Turkeyen, including the site where the MovieTowne cinema complex is being constructed.
When asked how the Government intends to deal with the issue, Minister Harmon Monday explained that the Cabinet is yet to discuss the matter.
“I can’t say precisely what the position will be. It is something which we will have to discuss at Cabinet,” he told reporters during an interview on the sidelines of an event at State House.
The court ruling effectively means that the MovieTowne mall is on property belonging to TPL.
The disputed land was sold under the previous administration. In fact, this transaction is one of cited in the charges of “misconduct in public office” brought by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) against former Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh and former Head of the Privatisation Unit, Winton Brassington.
Harmon, in sharing his personal views on this development, lashed out at the PPP for leaving “deep dark holes” for the current administration to fill.
News Room understands that lawyers for the State are in the process of appealing the High Court’s ruling. According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the entire tract of land had been the subject of a compulsory acquisition order (CAO) of June 8th, 1977. In October 1987, the state contracted to sell the entire tract to TPL and the company took possession in April 1988.
In May of 2011, Multicinemas Guyana Incorporated purchased part of the disputed land from NICIL for $187 Million for the construction of a cinema and a mall. Multicinemas is owned by the MovieTowne shopping complex, located in Port of Spain, Trinidad.