Soca star and businessman Neil “Iwer” George has threatened to sue the National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (Nidco) over the handling of his bid to purchase three disused water taxis.
George, who owns several companies including Trinibashment Limited and a boat cruise company, made the threat in a pre-action protocol letter sent to Nidco’s chairman Herbert George (no relation) on May 10.
In the correspondence, obtained by Guardian Media, George’s lawyer Annabelle Davis claimed that on December 29, last year, her client, through his company, submitted bids for the HSC Milancia, HSC Olivia, and HSC Katia.
Davis referred to a letter sent to her client one day after he submitted the bid, which she suggested indicated that George was the sole bidder.
“My client advises that he dutifully complied with all necessary requirements and successfully submitted his bid in accordance with the requirements contained in the said bid notice,” Davis said.
She claimed that after Nidco did not send any further correspondence to close the deal, her client contacted it on May 3.
“My client advises that he knows no reason neither has he been informed by the Port Authority of T&T (PATT) and Nidco that the sole respondent in the matter was not in fact successful in his bid to purchase the aforementioned vessels,” she said.
Davis gave Nidco 28 days in which to respond to the legal threat before she files a lawsuit on George’s behalf.
“In light of the above circumstances, my client instructs that he wishes to enforce specific performance of the transaction and you are hereby requested to prepare and execute the sale agreement to transfer the said vessel to my client,” she said.
Guardian Media understands that George did not receive an official response up to late yesterday.
The three vessels were purchased by the Government in 2008 for US$12 million each.
In less than four years, the vessels were no longer operational and the then-Government began the process to sell them.
In 2011, Astralship Corporation Limited, a company based in Gibraltar, assessed the vessels and valued the HSC Milancia and HSC Katia between US$550,000 and US$700,000 and the HSC Olivia between US$400,000 and US$500,000.
Less than a year later, the company reduced its valuations based on the deterioration of the vessels with the HSC Milancia and HSC Katia estimated to fetch between US$300,000 and US$400,000 and the HSC Olivia estimated at between US$200,000 and US$300,000.
Guardian Media reached out to Nidco’s communication department via email to respond to the legal threat but did not receive a response up to late yesterday.