Appeals Court agrees to hear case brought by Halcyon Cove against the government

By Elesha George

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) has agreed to hear an appeal which the principals of Halcyon Cove Beach Resort and Casino — Cove Hotels (Antigua) Limited — brought against the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

On October 31st, 2019, the ECSC ruled that it would hear the case regarding costs to be paid as a result of a compulsory land acquisition by the state.

“Only to the extent of setting aside the order that the appellant should pay the costs of the respondents in all other respects, the appeal is dismissed. (ii) The counter notice of appeal is dismissed. (iii) The parties shall file written submissions on the issue of the costs of the appeal and the counter appeal by no later than the 15th November 2019”, the court’s decision read.

The appeal is against the October, 22nd, 2018 judgment of High Court Judge Justice Rosalyn E. Wilkinson, who dismissed Cove’s claim for judicial review to quash the decision of the Cabinet to compulsorily acquire Halcyon Cove Hotel.

The central issue of the appeal was whether the Government of Antigua and Barbuda lost its right to acquire the property when Prime Minister Gaston Browne; Konata Lee, Secretary of the Cabinet; Ryan Johnson, Editor of the Antigua and Barbuda Official Gazette; Ralph George, Antigua And Barbuda Government Printer; and The Attorney General, Steadroy Benjamin acted to acquire it by force on September, 30th, 2015.

After years of trying to get the company to agree on how the 99-year leasehold should be treated, on December 15th, the government decided to acquire the Dickenson Bay property to develop and expand the Halcyon Hotel into a five-star resort.

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