A lawsuit has been filed in Grenada to determine who is the purchaser of the Mt. Cinammon resort in Morne Rouge, St. George as nationals, Franklyn and Danielle Comissiong seek to recover their funds invested in the property.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell announced in a national address on May 10 “the recent acquisition of Port Louis and Mt Cinnamon” at a cost of US$350m with the broad plan to add 500 rooms to Grenada’s hotel stock.
Reports surfaced in the local media that the purchase was done by Joyau des Caraibes Ltd (JDC), a company affiliated with Egyptian billionaire Naguib Onsi Sawiris, financier of the recently completed Silversands resort in Grand Anse.
A few days after the Prime Minister’s announcement, the de Savary group issued a press release indicating that the properties had been sold to JDC II Ltd.
However, the law firm representing the Comissiong family, Ciboney Chambers said it undertook a search of the Deeds and Land Registry at the Supreme Court and did not find any supporting documents to reflect the sale.
Attorneys for the couple have sought to get information on the sale of Mt Cinnamon to determine how their client would be affected, and could not find any record of the sale to Joyau des Caraibes Ltd (JDC).
Ciboney Chambers also reportedly failed to find any company registration for JDC II Ltd at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office, or any record of an Alien Land Holding Licence.
In addition, up to May 15, the Deeds Acknowledgement Book did not bear any record that the deed(s) related to the sale/purchase were collected.
Several days later on June 2, the law firm for the Comissiongs was able to get a copy of the Deed, but it had still not been recorded in the Deeds Acknowledgement Book.
A second Deeds Acknowledgement Book, however, with the words “Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, Hurry” written in red on the cover, showed that the Deeds had in fact been collected on May 13 by two attorneys offices, one representing the seller and the other representing the buyer.
A Claim has been filed with the Supreme Court Registry by Ciboney Chambers to determine who is the purchaser of the property as the Comissiongs already have a matter before the court in an effort to recover their investment.
The couple had entered a lease with the company Spice Land Ltd for a one-bedroom hacienda at Mt Cinnamon and this was supposed to be their income and retirement home.
The couple was promised access to and use of other properties owned by the company.
The operators also lured the couple to invest with the promise that a five-star hotel would be built on the beach and they would be able to enjoy all the amenities of that luxury resort once it is finished.
In addition, the one-bedroom hacienda they secured would be put in a rental pool and this would generate income when they were off island.
It sounded like a great deal, but less than five years later the couple woke up to the realisation that they had not received any income from rental, and they were being charged exorbitant maintenance fees by the company which held their lease, including maintenance for the property where the five-star hotel was to be built.
In 2015, the Comissiongs decided to take the matter to court in an effort to rescind the lease and recover their investment.
In October 2019, the Spice Land Ltd advised that the property was being sold but the transaction was not expected to be completed until the end of 2020.
Seven months ahead of that deadline and before the court matter has been settled, the sale was announced.
The couple will head back to court next week for a hearing on the substantive matter of return of their funds invested.