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Government To Raise Questions Over Blackbeard's Cay Developer

photo

Obie Wilchcombe

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

THE government intends to approach St Maarten officials for information in an attempt to ascertain if the developer of Blackbeard’s Cay qualifies to do business in the Bahamas.

According to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe officials have been made aware of the controversial claims disseminated in several St Maarten press reports concerning Samir Andrawos – claims that he has denied.

The Minister assured the public that due diligence would be done in their investigations.

He was responding to questions regarding the government’s intended course of action in view of allegations of a connection between Mr Andrawos and a bribery claim that it is alleged has reached the highest levels of government in that country.

Mr Andrawos has told The Tribune that the St Maarten press had got it wrong as he had “nothing to do” with the deal in question, having sold his interest more than a year ago.

“We are looking at what we’ve heard,” Mr Wilchcombe said. “We don’t have all the facts, but we want to see how it parallels with what we are doing here. We will certainly talk to officials in St Maarten.

“I will speak to my colleagues there to make sure that the person who is doing business in the Bahamas is someone we would want to have doing business in the Bahamas. Always remember due diligence is fundamental.

“But sometimes certain things happen and we don’t know about it and it goes under the radar. Once we find out we have to respond, but right now there (has been) no action taken. We’ll certainly be looking into it.”

In April, the St Maarten News Network (SMN), in an article, claimed that certain pundits in the UP Party alleged that a high ranking government official received kick-backs to enable a move of a $100 million project, known as Justice Park.

It was also claimed by SMN, according to insiders, that negotiating with the government on behalf of Mr Andrawos were Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams’ son, Andy Wescot and son-in-law Gary Matser. That factor has led to calls for a conflict of interest investigation because Mrs Wescot-Williams voted in favour Justice Park twice, the report alleged.

However, on March 21, SMN quoted the Prime Minister as saying “she had no idea who the negotiators are.” She also said she had no knowledge of kick-backs that were given to anyone.

Comments

jackflash 7 years, 1 month ago

Samir Andrawos and Peter Nygard are both of the same scum bag typs

He will do well here once he gets nestled in her before the PLP are voted out

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 1 month ago

I am sorry, but what a charade...laughter has already been shared over cocktails, someone has already gotten a ride on the private yacht, someone already believes they are of elevated importance because they're rubbing shoulders with a wealthy developer and someone has already been shown how they will personally profit if the deal goes through. Oh and don't forget the fees that will be earned by their law firms for the legal work.

As George Smith said "why does it matter how you made your money?"

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 1 month ago

Wait a minute, I have to correct myself here...shouldn't this investigation have been carried out BEFORE they became "the Developer of Blackbeard's Cay?"

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Puzzled 7 years, 1 month ago

Tribune Thursday May 16th ".....Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe initially seemed to suggest the government was also wary of the project, saying Prime Minister Perry Christie has directed officials to investigate the redevelopment. But then, following a meeting with Mr Andrawos and Carnival Cruise Lines, the minister said all concerns have been “assuaged.”...." So tell us honestly what has changed since the 16th May? Maybe the payments stopped?

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ThisIsOurs 7 years, 1 month ago

So they were initially wary about doing business with the developer, they met with him, he told them that he was an upstanding guy, so their concerns were assuaged.

15 days later they are suddenly released! from the siren's spell and will now independently review the proposal.

Somebody please tell me that these are not our best and brightest

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john33xyz 7 years, 1 month ago

There is nothing wrong with the Govt investigating - but why do they have to make comments in the newspaper about it beforehand? He says he will talk to his counterparts in St. Maarten. Well then, pick up the phone and call them - talk to them - get the fact - speak to Cabinet - make a decision - and THEN talk to the newspapers.

All of those steps should take LESS than 7 days.

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crabman 7 years, 1 month ago

a little sumptin here and dere we is all happy with da money man

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BoopaDoop 7 years, 1 month ago

The PLP is following the "Drug Running Model" which proved successful for Ping in the 80's.

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