Jagdeo says will resign if Kaieteur News proves there was a secret investor in Marriott Hotel


Promising to resign if proof is provided, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday challenged Kaieteur News and its publisher, Glen Lall, to prove that there was a secret investor in the construction of the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.

Jagdeo was responding to a report in the local daily where it was suggested that the government’s move to sell the profit-making hotel was in a bid to pay off the private investor.

Jagdeo insisted that the move to sell the hotel was purely a business decision, noting that it remains 100 per cent owned by the government and constructed with a US$17.3 million loan from Republic Bank. That loan was later restructured.

And in light of the claims, Jagdeo also promised to encourage Republic Bank to sue the publication.

“If you can prove there is a secret investor, I will resign now…I will encourage Republic Bank to sue you too because I don’t know about any secret investor,” Jagdeo told a news conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

Lall and the Kaieteur News have already lost several cases in court in relation to several published articles about the Marriott Hotel that was proven to be inaccurate.

Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL), Winston Brassington had sued Lall some 19 times for “defamatory” remarks made against him in the daily newspaper in relation to the Marriott Hotel.

Brassington had won at least five of these cases which saw more than $30M being awarded to him. In one case alone, Brassington was awarded $10M and another $17M.

A number of these libel suits are still engaging the attention of the courts.

The Vice President accused Kaieteur News of launching a campaign against the government and as a consequence, is publishing inaccurate articles on a daily basis.

“I’m looking forward to seeing who the private investor is and how much money they got and from whom,” Jagdeo added while also urging the publication to provide proof on reports on a slew of other matters.

The hotel was opened in April 2015 and according to the Vice President, it was intended to be a private/public partnership but when the investor from Hong Kong was no longer interested, the government went ahead without the intended casino facility.

Lall, who attended the Thursday press conference, said stands by his statements on the Marriott Hotel.

“I will welcome any lawsuit from anyone on what I’ve said on the Marriott,” Lall said pointing out that it was a syndicated loan by investors put together by Republic Bank.

Jagdeo insisted that Lall was confused on the matter and factually wrong in his reasoning.

Meanwhile, Jagdeo had also challenged Lall several months ago to present an investor that would sell the government solar at US¢5 per kilowatt hour as claimed by Lall. To date, Lall has not done so.

Jagdeo said that the lowest offer government received to date for the generation of power is US¢8 per kilowatt hour.

He has challenged anyone who can find a bidder to supply solar power for less to come forward and the government will be prepared to sign a long-term contract for the supply of power.

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