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Lease for Marriott hotel land being opposed in court

Long-time politician, Desmond Trotman on Friday filed an opposition to the transfer of the land on which the Marriott Hotel is being built , saying that the cost of the 99-year lease would be a paltry sum.

Trotman, in court papers seen by Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com), argues that the least of GUY$299,955 per year for the 6.886 acres of land on Battery Road, Kingston, Georgetown was designed to benefit close associates of the government.

“It’s very clear that prime property will cost a lot more than what is being leased before and in my estimation it is enough for me to intervene and try to put a stop to that,” he said.

Arguing that the lease amount was not a reasonable sum, Trotman preferred the court to decide what should be the fee for such prime property. “I believe it doesn’t do justice to the people of this country that it is another giveaway of resources and as such some challenge has to be established to ensure the resources are not given away to lackeys of the PPP (Peoples Progressive Party).

One of his lawyers, Christopher Ram, suggested that leasing of the land should have been done by open tender.

In the Notice of Opposition, Trotman said the intended lease by the National Industrial Commercial Investments Limited to Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI) as advertised on June 15, 2013 would result in an infringement of the opposer’s and of the other citizen’s fundamental rights to equality before the law and equal protection of the law guarantied by the constitution and rule of law.

President Donald Ramotar on April 12, 2013, on behalf of the State and on the advice of Cabinet, granted the land to NICIL, a company wholly owned by the Guyana government. NICIL then applied to the Deeds Registry to convey the land and agreed to convey the land by way of a lease for 99 years to AHI.

“The public trust reposed in the President and his Cabinet by the Citizens has been misused and abused by wrongfully disposing of the public property herein described as Block ALPHA to the prejudice of the Citizens of Guyana,” states Trotman who is a member of the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA) and a parliamentarian for the opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).

Trotman noted that AHI is a public private partnership to engage in hotel development which would then be fully divested into private hands. “A multi storied hotel and casino is being constructed on the said land which belongs to the citizens of Guyana and will then pass into private ownership,” he states.