A 99 Year lease agreement? Am I the only one who didn’t think agreements like this was legal?
According to Miami Herald Haitian writer Jacqueline Charles,
When Miami-based Carnival Corp. announced its interest in transforming this former pirate’s lair into a tourism mecca nearly five months ago, it wasn’t the first time this remote island’s white sandy beaches had been dangled before investors.
But Carnival’s plans are now in jeopardy.
The company only recently learned that the island is entangled in a 99-year lease agreement with a Texas businessman that was born out of Beatlemania and survived multiple Haitian coups and political transitions.
“We have a problem and we have an opportunity,” said Frantz Brossard, senior adviser to Grey Pierson, a Texas lawyer who owns the lease. “We don’t want to see Carnival pull out of this deal. But the ball is now in the court of the Haitian government.”
Pointe-Ouest, a prime beachfront parcel, in Île de la Tortue off northwest Haiti was once named one of the Caribbean’s top beaches by Condé Nast Traveler. The Miami-based parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines recently signed an agreement with the Haitian government to develop the area for its cruise ship passengers. Pointe-Ouest, a prime beachfront parcel, in Île de la Tortue off northwest Haiti was once named one of the Caribbean’s top beaches by Condé Nast Traveler. The Miami-based parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines recently signed an agreement with the Haitian government to develop the area for its cruise ship passengers.
Carnival officials say Haitian officials did not disclose that this barrier island off Haiti’s northwest coast has a long-term lease agreement with Pierson when they signed a letter of intent in July to develop a $70 million destination cruise port along the island’s unspoiled Pointe-Ouest beach, which Condé Nast Traveler has called one of the 10 nicest beaches in the Caribbean.
“We’re not necessarily surprised as this sometimes happens in some proposed developments with prior landowners or leaseholders making claims about rights and or ownership,” said David Candib, vice president of development and operations for Carnival. “That being said, we have not yet raised it with government, nor have they raised it directly to us at this point.”
Pierson has spent decades trying to enforce the agreement, which was originally given to his father Don by former dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in exchange for developing Île de la Tortue into an economic hub with hotels, an international airport and jobs, and administered by a freeport authority.
“The Haitian government delegated all authority to issue commercial licenses on Tortuga to the freeport authority, and this agreement remains in effect,” he said. “Knowing that Carnival Corporation … has an excellent staff of attorneys, I am confident that they will recognize that Carnival will be placed at serious risk if it elects to proceed without a license.”
Haiti Tourism Minister Stéphanie Balmir-Villedrouin told the Miami Herald on Thursday that the Carnival deal is still on and the company’s lawyers will soon be in contact with Pierson.
“They are going to get a solution among them,” she said, adding that there are no plans to put the project on hold. “Carnival doesn’t have the concession on the whole island. They have a piece of the island and this $70 million will create jobs.”
Pierson’s lease is not the only one.
For the past 23 years, Hotel Mont Joli SA, in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien, also has been leasing Pointe-Ouest. – Continue Reading Article Here