PRESS STATEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF DOMINICA ON THE JUDGEMENT BY MR. JUSTICE BANNISTER RE DOMINICA

PRESS STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF

DOMINICA

1. Over the last few months the Government of Dominica has been

engaged in litigation in the BVI where it has sought to establish that

in 2006 it acquired a 51% shareholding in the company Shangri-La

International Development Holding Limited (Shangri-La) and that it

was entitled to be registered in that Company’s register as the

majority shareholder. Shangri-La owns the lands and properties

referred to as the Layou Project. The Honorable Prime Minister

gave evidence on behalf of the Government in those proceedings.

2. This afternoon, the 11th of November, 2009, at 2.00 pm, His

Lordship Mr. Justice Bannister of the BVI Commercial Court

delivered an important judgment in the Shangri La Court matter. His

Lordship held that the Government of Dominica is unconditionally

entitled to 51% of the share equity in Shangri La. In ruling as he

did, the Learned Judge accepted the Prime Minister as a witness of

truth and accepted the evidence of the Prime Minister on the issues

in dispute.

 

3. This is a historic and important judgment for Dominica. After many

years of controversy, the Government of the Commonwealth of

Dominica is now, for the first time, the majority owner and controller

of the Layou River Project. This is a significant development, and

vindicates completely the willingness and courage of Prime Minister

Roosevelt Skerrit who swore to an affidavit in support of the

Government and subjected himself willingly to two (2) days of cross

examination by one of the leading commercial QC’s from London.

 

2

In doing so, the Prime Minister was determined to protect the public

interest of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

 

4. In ruling that the Government was absolutely entitled to 51% of the

ownership of Shangri La, His Lordship Mr. Justice Bannister, said in

his judgment, “ I found the Prime Minister to be a truthful

witness. He stated that he “felt able to accept with confidence

every answer given to me by the Prime Minister on all the

central questions of fact which were within his knowledge.”

His Lordship said further, “my finding that the execution of the

transfer on 12 February 2006 was unconditional rests as much on

my acceptance of the evidence of the Prime Minister as it does

on the fact that no other finding would be consistent with the

documents to which I have made reference.”

 

 

5. Much has been made of meetings in Las Vegas and London. His

Lordship Mr. Justice Bannister brushed off the meeting in Las

Vegas as totally irrelevant. He said “Neither the document nor Mr

Chaisty QC’s cross examination threw any light on the issues which

are for decision in these proceedings.” In other words, the Las

Vegas meeting was not more than a red herring. And importantly,

His Lordship accepted, as unquestionably credible, the evidence of

the Prime Minister as to what had transpired at the meeting in

London. Mr. Justice Bannister said “I found the Prime Minister’s

evidence on the London meeting and its aftermath wholly

convincing.”

 

6. The Prime Minister and Government of the Commonwealth of

Dominica welcome this significant and historic judgment and look

forward to moving forward with the development of Dominica.

 

 

7. We wish to express thanks to Mr. Anthony Astaphan S.C. and Mr.

Alick Lawrence who so ably represented the Government in this

matter. We thank also Mrs. Tana’ania Small Davies our BVI

Counsel.

Dated the 11th Day of November 2009

Mrs. Francine Baron Royer

Attorney

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