True Blue Development, the company behind the Kawana Bay resort project in Grenada, this week issued a press release in which they confirmed the international arbitration proceedings against the government are moving ahead. While the developers say an amicable settlement remains a possibility, they also state that such an outcome has been complicated by the “extensive damage caused to the project by the actions of the former government.”
Background: In May 2021, Warren Newfield, the principal of True Blue Development Limited, the company behind Grenada’s CBI-approved Kimpton Kawana Bay, resigned from his diplomatic post in the country and issued a letter in which he maintained that the country’s government had become “anti-business”. The government responded with claims to the contrary, asserting that Newfield and his development had been under investigation and that this was what had instigated what they called a “pre-emptive” resignation. In an exclusive interview with IMI, Newfield alleged the government had “steadily and substantially been throwing up roadblocks to business development in key sectors and in particular the CBI industry.” In June the same year, True Blue Development Ltd. filed claims against the government of Grenada with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) over what the developer’s lawyer calls a “scheme by the Government of Grenada to thwart the successful completion” of the resort.
Upon assuming office last summer, Grenada’s new prime minister signaled his administration’s openness to negotiate a settlement with True Blue Developments so that the project, the unclad structures of which were already built by the time the dispute broke out, could be completed.
In its press statement earlier this week, the developers write that, while it welcomed the new government’s receptiveness to negotiations, the “extensive damage to the project caused by the actions of the former government administration in Grenada has severely complicated and handicapped the efforts towards settlement.”
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The developers further provided an update regarding the case’s proceedings with ICSID:
On July 1st last year, said True Blue, “we filed our Memorial on the Merits, setting out the details of our claim with supporting expert reports. The Government of Grenada would have been required to file its response in the form of a Counter-Memorial by December 2022 but forstalled this on November 1, 2022, by making a preliminary application objecting to ICSID’s jurisdiction and seeking to bifurcate those jurisdictional objections into a separate phase.”
True Blue said it had filed a “comprehensive response rebutting the Government’s objection” on December 28th last year and that it now remained for the tribunal to “either make a ruling on the matter or conduct a hearing whether to bifurcate the dispute.”
The developers stated that, if the tribunal schedules a hearing, they anticipate it would take place some time in April this year. If the tribunal makes a ruling, however, the government’s “preliminary application may be determined in the next few months, if not sooner.”