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Warner: Centre not for sale

Thursday, April 17 2014

INDEPENDENT Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner says the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Macoya is not for sale and never was. He was responding to articles in yesterday’s Newsday and Express, which stated that CONCACAF had filed three caveats against the Centre of Excellence property in Macoya on March 28, 2013.

The caveats were filed in the Registrar General’s Department by CONCACAF’s local attorney Steven Michael Paul of JD Sellier and Company. Documents revealed that the football body is claiming equitable interests in three properties owned by Warner.

In the caveats, CONCACAF claims it provided funds for the acquisition of land for the Centre of Excellence to the tune of over $103 million (US$16 million). In an emailed response, Warner yesterday said this was, “nothing more than blatant and outright lies.”

“I wish to state categorically that the Centre of Excellence is not for sale. Let me also state that CONCACAF does not have any equitable interest in the Centre of Excellence and has no claim to ownership.”

He alleged Government was seeking to distract the public by training its guns on him and accused Attorney General Anand Ramlogan of being behind the attack against him saying he would not be shocked if Ramlogan called CONCACAF to pursue any legal action against him. “That an Attorney General can influence the local media to such an extent is simply frightening,” he said. But in an immediate response, Ramlogan denied the allegations levelled against him by Warner, saying it was a ridiculous and amusing suggestion that the matter was discussed by the Cabinet as Warner had alleged.

In his statement, Warner also stated CONCACAF could do as they wished as it related to the filing of a caveat against him. “However, if CONCACAF indeed has filed a caveat against me all I can say is that both CONCACAF and FIFA have unlimited funding and they can spend their money as they wish if they want to do that,” Warner said.

Ramlogan said he has confirmed the three caveats referred to were authentic and bona fide. “The procedure for filing caveats is such that the property owner (Mr Warner) is notified of the fact that the caveat has been lodged against his property. If the property is mortgaged, the bank would have an interest in the property and is likewise also notified. I am advised that this procedure was in fact followed,” Ramlogan said.

“Mr Warner would have been notified when these caveats were lodged since March 2013 because they have serious implications and consequences for the legal right of the owner.

It is an encumberance on the title that restricts the ability of the owner to sell, transfer, lease or otherwise deal with or dispose of the subject property. A prospective purchaser will discover these caveats when a title search is conducted and they will buy the Centre of Excellence subject to FIFA’s legal claims,” the AG noted.

“The owner can remove this restriction by filing an application by court to dispute the claim upon which the caveat is based. Mr Warner has filed no such application in the High Court to challenge or dispute the claims made by FIFA that it provided over $103M TTD ($16M USD) to purchase the land and finance the construction of the Centre of Excellence for the benefit of regional soccer,” Ramlogan pointed out.

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