Caribbean National Weekly | 24 January 2023
Kawana Bay developers say amicable settlement remains open
By CMC News
The developers of the 146-room Kimpton Kawana Bay hotel project in Grenada say while an amiable settlement remains open, the “extensive damage to the project caused by the actions of the former government administration in Grenada has severely complicated and handicapped the efforts towards settlement”.
Prime Minister Dickson Mitchell said his new administration, which came to office in June last year, is open to negotiate a settlement with the developers with a view to the project being completed.
“Unfortunately, the extensive damage to the project caused by the actions of the former government administration in Grenada has severely complicated and handicapped the efforts towards settlement. We welcome the prime minister’s statement and remain open to the possibility of an amicable settlement in the interest of all stakeholders,” the developers said in a statement posted on their website.
Owned and developed by True Blue Development, whose major shareholder is a former ambassador at large to Grenada, Warren Newfield, the now incomplete tourism project on Grand Anse beach is a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) approved project.
Under the CBI program, Grenada provides citizenship to a foreign investor in return for making a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of the island.
The resort was due to open in late 2021 and operated by one of the world’s leading boutique hotel operators, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG).
But the developers last year filed a complaint with the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment (ICSID). The Washington-based ICSID is an arm of the World Bank devoted to resolving international investment disputes against sovereign states.
According to the developer, the arbitration was filed because the previous government had imposed unilaterally, a limitation on the use of CBI funds for the construction costs of the hotel.
“On July 1, 2022, we filed our Memorial on the Merits, setting out the details of our claim with supporting expert reports. The Government of Grenada would have been required to file its response in the form of a Counter-Memorial by December 2022, but forestalled this on November 1, 2022 by making a preliminary application objecting to ICSID’s jurisdiction and seeking to bifurcate those jurisdictional objections into a separate phase.
“On December 28, 2022, we filed a comprehensive response rebutting the Government’s objection. At this juncture, the tribunal may either make a ruling on the matter or conduct a hearing on whether to bifurcate the dispute.
In 2021, Newfield resigned as an ambassador-at-large and consul general to the government of Grenada, citing anti-business policies as the reason behind his decision.