Government has purchased the controversial Buccoo Estate in Tobago, popularly known as No Man’s Land, for $174, 806,775 million.
The 398.42 acre property, which is listed as one of the CL Financial’s (CLF) assets, was sold earlier this year. Each acre was valued at US$65,000, bringing the total value of the secluded property to US$25,897,300.
In 2016, Clico carried on its balance sheet the value of the land at roughly $187 million. The transfer agreement was completed on March 2017.
However, at a press conference last week, Carlton Reis, who represents CL Financial shareholders under the group United Shareholders Ltd, had estimated the land at $500 million.
Clico Policyholders Group chairman Peter Permell, in a July 16 Sunday Guardian article, said a Project Rebirth report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoppers estimated the fair market value of the property at approximately $867 million.
The land will be offered to Sandals chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart for the construction of two hotel resorts comprising 750 rooms.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley confirmed Government purchased the property at market value. He said an issue was raised recently about Government’s taking possession of the CLF assets, noting it was argued that what was on the books was not the real value and Government should have sought a valuation.
“But it was said that the lands we took in Tobago in lieu of the debt and set off against the debt might have been improperly done and the value might not have been established properly. Let me today put that to rest,” he said.
“The Government, quite properly, through the relevant authority in all of this, the board set off the monies owed for the value of those land. And the value was established by reputable independent valuators in Trinidad and Tobago. And that is the value at which the Government’s debt was reduced by virtue of the value of this land.”
The PM warned all those who have been saying the Government took possession of the land and paid “half X for it... nothing is further from the truth. The law requires that any disposal of assets under the Central Bank, as it is now holding assets for Clico…any disposal requires fair market value. And that is exactly what we got in that.
He said the valuation was based on an analysis of 100 per cent of the common stock of Occidental Investments Ltd and Oceanic Properties Ltd, owned by Clico.
Rowley said a lot of misinformation was being put out in the public domain by people who were unaware “but who are fuelling conspiracies and ascribing misconduct to the Government” was misleading.
“Those lands would have been acquired by the Government at full market value established by reputable valuators.”
Rowley left a copy of the valuation for the media’s perusal, but did not field questions about the land.
T&T news blog
The intent of this blog is to bring some news from home and other fun items. If you enjoy what you read, please leave us a comment..