The Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) is seeking further legal advice on the 22 "illegal" leases issued under the then People's Partnership government.
This was confirmed by Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis on Wednesday during a Housing Development Corporation sod-turning ceremony at Bon Air South.
Her comments came days after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley gave the assurance that he was not reneging on his position on so-called approvals given by the previous CDA board which were inconsistent with the development plan approved by Parliament and whose leases are considered illegal on the basis of senior counsel advice provided to the current board.
Rowley made the statement based on a report submitted by former CDA chairman Anthony Pierre that all leases entered into during the period 2014 to 2015 be "deemed illegal and null and void."
Pierre resigned on August 27, after the board said he acted without proper approval in issuing letters of comfort to Fouraime Enterprises Ltd (FEL) and Starburst Parks Ltd.
Fouraime chairman John Aboud who sunk close to $100 million in developing a water park in Chaguaramas said he had no intention of abandoning the project and viewed his 30-year-lease legal. Another businessman, Raymond Habib, who is setting up a safari park, also said he was not going to give up one square inch of land leased to him.
Stating that any lease given out must be approved by Cabinet, Robinson-Regis said "as far as we understand it and as far as we have seen none of the leases have been approved by Cabinet. In law, the Chaguaramas Development Act indicates that is the procedure for approving a lease."
Robinson-Regis said certain things have since taken place and "we would have to move forward from there."
She said that a Cabinet sub-committee headed by Finance Minister Colm Imbert, including Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young and herself was established.
"We have been meeting with the lease holders, in particular Mr Aboud."
Last week, Robinson-Regis said a report commissioned by the CDA came before Cabinet.
"As a consequence of the contents of that report we (CDA) are moving to seek further legal advice and to bring it again before the Cabinet for a decision to be taken on a way forward."
How does Robinson-Regis envisage this issue to pan out? She said one issue the CDA had a concern about was to ensure that none of the projects infringed on the beach access or the rights of the people.
"We will ensure that any land that is leased is done properly." In going forward, Robinson-Regis said CDA would do the right thing.
Habib, whose lease was deemed illegal by the CDA, yesterday admitted that with his business not being in operation he had potential profits in phase one of his project, projected at $690,000 monthly.
"By the CDA withholding our documents, not only do we have an expense every month that we have to maintain over a year, we have also lost profits."
He also disclosed that no one from the CDA or the committee had spoken to him.
"As a businessman the last thing you want to do is go to court. We are willing to talk to whoever to sort things out." he said