Palace Resorts has pulled out of US equivalent of 67-billion JMD investment in Jamaica because it says its brand has been subjected to damaging political commentary.
PNP President Dr. Peter Phillips had lashed out at the deal & called for anti-corruption lobby, NIA to probe it.
Opposition Senator, Lambert Brown also suggested that the deal arrived at by the UDC with Palace Resorts was ‘another scandal’.
While Phillips also called for Investment Minister, Daryl Vaz to be sent on leave until ‘independent anti-corruption audit’ is completed.
Dr. Phillips said the NIA should help put together independent audit team to probe the deal.
He described the deal as a continuation of bad governance by Holness-administration.
Phillips said the deal, which was to create over 7000 jobs, would be further interrogated by PAAC.
Former Contractor General Dirk Harrison had described the (US 225m in 1st phase & US270m in the 2nd phase) deal as an insult given that the property was sold for US-6 million less than the maximum valuation price.
But the Integrity Commission said Harrison’s conclusion was “not supported by evidence”.
Minister Vaz, also hit back at Dirk Harrison denying interference in the negotiating process.
Vaz said Harrison failed to reflect that UDC considered that the project will bring in US half-a-billion in Foriegn Direct Investment (FDI) and create 7000 jobs, while raking in US30-million in tax revenues over 3 years.
Vaz noted that the investors had agreed to pump millions of US dollars into the redevelopment of Ocho Rios which would make the area more conducive to other investments, create local business opportunities, as the investor had pumped US 1-million into nourishment of public beach.
Hugh Shearer Trade Union Institute Head, Danny Roberts, also disagreed with Harrison’s conclusion. Roberts said in his view the UDC/Palace deal appeared good for JA. Roberts said the UDC/Palace rooms sale deal is a classic case study in how to conduct good business negotiations.
The disclosure of Palace Resorts decision to pull out of the multi-billion dollar deal was communicated to the UDC in a letter dated March 5 this year.
Letter was written by Palace Resorts, Executive Vice President, Gibran Chapur Dajer.
Construction was to begin in two months.
Palace has called on the UDC to pursue the reversal of the transaction.
That is – to return the money paid to purchase the property and return the property to the ownership of the Government of Jamaica.