Legal action looming over General Post Office move

Legal action looming over General Post Office move
Damian Gomez, QC.

Attorney Damian Gomez, QC, represents businessman Scott Godet in suit

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Businessman Scott Godet, who entered into an public-private parntership with the Christie administration for the the relocation of the General Post Office to his Independence Highway Plaza, is taking legal action against the government alleging breach of contract, Eyewitness News Online can confirm.

Attorney Damien Gomez, Q.C, who represents Godet, yesterday cautioned the government about reneging on contracts.

“The government ought to be more careful about breaching its arrangements, particularly commercial arrangements with business people,” Gomez said, noting that if his client is successful in the suit taxpayers could pay millions more for the relocation of the General Post Office.

Gomez claimed Godet had a written lease signed by the former government.

“A new lease with the Symonettes was entered into and now my client plans to sue,” he said.

“They [allegedly] reneged on a written commitment and not surprisingly, the injured party is suing.”

Construction at the Independence Shopping Plaza began under the former administration with Godet pumping a reported $3 million in the property.

The project stalled after surrounding residents in the Garden Hills constituency complained that the development impacting their way of life.

Godet reported that he was in discussions with the Minnis administration following the last general election to use the property for another project, however, Gomez told Eyewitness News Online, “those discussions went nowhere.”

While he did not disclose how much Godet was seeking, Gomez advised it would be the amount of the contract, plus damages.

When Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells tabled a resolution in Parliament to approve renting space for the post office at the TownCentre Mall, he indicated that the terms of the lease will offer a “concessionary rate” of $12 per square foot.

He said this was far below the going rate for commercial rentals in New Providence.

Portions of the building will be leased and made suitable for the Post Office’s operations at the landlord’s expense, and the space will be leased for a five-yearperiod.

The government announced the move last October, but came under heavy criticism and claims of a of conflict of interest.

Town Centre Mall is owned by St. Anne’s MP Brent Symonette and his brother.

Symonette resigned as a Cabinet two weeks ago, but insisted that it had nothing to do with a number of government contracts related to a company in which his children’s trust owns minority shares.

Symonette revealed in a recent interview that the Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis contacted him while he was in Mexico and discussed the “parameters” ofthe arrangement.

However, he has insisted that Cabinet procedure was followed.

Minnis had previously insisted that Symonette was not involved any discussion regarding the decision to relocate the post office to Town Centre Mall.