Former banker Dr Melvin Turnbull is the person leading negotiations on behalf of Government, which is trying to arrive at a final settlement following a court case the government’s Customs Department lost in the Privy Council against Delta Petroleum.
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith this month disclosed the composition of Government’s negotiation team, which he said also include Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith and Kevin Smith.
“The members of the team were agreed upon by the ministers of Government, and were selected based on their specific acumen and technical competencies,” Premier Smith told the House of Assembly.
He said the meetings between the Government’s team and Delta commenced on April 25.
Premier Smith also indicated that Cabinet made no decision to impact the case while it was being heard. “This matter was a legal matter, which was handled at all levels by the Attorney General’s Chambers. There were no decisions taken by Cabinet in relation to the matter,” he declared in response to questions posed by Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie.
Premier Smith, during a previous sitting of the House, said he could not give a detailed breakdown of the approximate costs Government is expected to pay Delta Petroleum. “As settlement discussions are still ongoing, a breakdown of the requested costs cannot be provided at this time, as such costs are yet to be determined,” he further said.
In terms of the costs for legal services utilized by Government, Premier Smith disclosed: “The High Court case was dealt with by the Solicitor General and the Appeal Court case by the then Attorney General. Therefore, no additional legal costs were incurred at these stages. In relation to the Privy Council case $70,941.24 has been incurred as of 13 April, 2017.”
The premier noted that he was not able to give a detailed breakdown of the costs for all legal and other professional services Government has utilized, because settlement negotiations are still ongoing with Delta Petroleum.
The case surrounds a quantity of diesel that was condemned and forfeited by Customs.
Customs, in September 2012, accused Delta Petroleum of off-loading the fuel without its authorization.
Delta was asked to pay a fine, but it refused to do so.
Delta sought the High Court’s assistance in getting back both the fuel and the tank. But High Court judge Justice Vicki Ann Ellis, in February 2013, ruled in favour of the government.
Delta then took the matter to the Court of Appeal and won.
In response, Government went to the Privy Council, which upheld the ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal in favour of Delta Petroleum.