Antigua - Official Plunder 2010 12 May 2010 Article by Ian Moncrief-Scott for Mondaq.com
H.M.B. Holdings Limited has appealed the valuation of the Board of Assessment for the Half Moon Bay property, which the Government of Antigua has finally expropriated and taken over in July 2007.
The legal reasons for the Appeal of the Decision handed down in January 2010 by the Board's Chairman, a High Court Judge, appointed by the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, are grounded in evidence provided to the Board during its hearings of the matter in July 2009, as well as in issues of precedent and law.
The practical reasons for the Appeal, however, should be of concern to all Antiguans and foreign investors alike.
If allowed to stand, the establishment of a US $5 per square foot value, on what has been consistently proclaimed to be the best property on Antigua, devalues ALL of Antigua.
Antiguans have been prone to overlook illegal actions, provided they benefit from the resulting circumstances.
The current Administration has developed a new approach to the problem.
When existing law impedes a certain action that the Administration wishes to pursue, Justin Simon QC, the Attorney General, goes to Parliament and changes that law, more often than not setting himself up as sole arbiter of any given situation. [See the most recent change proposed last week to the Prevention of Terrorism (Amendment) Act].
The conversion of Law into an instrument of plunder should be of paramount importance to all Antiguans and every other individual or entity even tangentially involved in Antiguan matters.
Last year, the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC), an advocacy group organised in the U.S.A, has sued the Government of Antigua for collusion with R. Allen Stanford in defrauding a number of international investors.
The SVC invoked the expropriation of Half Moon Bay, as an example of such collusion in its claim, filed in a U.S. court.
With the Government of Antigua, and specifically Attorney General Simon, continuing to stonewall its efforts of recovery, the SVC has now launched an international campaign to "send a clear message" to that Government.
In its "Anti-Crime, Anti-Antigua" campaign, the SVC is calling on travel professionals and prospective tourists from around the world to boycott plans for holidays and cruises to Antigua.
It is also asking that loans to and investments in financial institutions, companies or any other ventures based on Antigua be held in abeyance until the Government of Antigua "does the right thing."
For the SVC, "the right thing" appears to be the release of Stanford-owned property, whether it be real estate or corporate assets, to the Receiver appointed for the purpose of reimbursing the victims of Stanford's fraud.
For H.M.B. Holdings, "the right thing" would be the payment of "fair and prompt compensation" as enshrined in the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, without prevarication and ongoing delay.
Of course, all of this assumes that the Constitution is not conveniently altered like other local Laws and or "interpreted," like international arrangements have been recently, to suit the ends of the official plunderers........