Opposition Leader defends First Deputy against land sale accusations before 2020 elections.
Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, says his First Deputy, Hugo Patt, did no wrong after accusations surfaced that the former Minister of Lands played a part in the facilitation of acres of lands, some of which were sold to Portico, a week before the 2020 elections. In 2020, Patt signed off on the sale of over 850 acres of land, East of the Northern Lagoon to seven companies, whose director is Sunjay Hotchandani, NYNE Enterprises, whose directors are Sean Duncan and David Morales, and to six private individuals. The common factor of the lands sold is that they are all in the vicinity of where the Port of Magical is being constructed. There are many questionable moves made in these transactions including the transfer of some of the lands to Portico Enterprises, some weeks after they were acquired. The former Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, has gone on record to say he was disappointed when he learned of what emerged, but his son, the LOO, says he doesn’t think Patt did anything wrong and says the minister was trying to help first-time landowners.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Whatever Hugo Pat did in my view will always have my support because I know that all he was trying to do is help first time landowners. When it comes to Hugo Pat, I have no doubt that whatever he did, whatever he signed, he did it with the best intention to help first-time landowners. When you come to the end of your term you have a backlog of people that you committed to help all across the country and so whatever he did or signed I have confidence that it was with the intention to help the small woman and man that are trying to get their hands on a piece of land. When the people that work in the ministry that are supposed to go through the checks before they present anything to the minister, that is another question you need to ask them what it is that they were doing. But I speak to my deputy all the time and I believe in him. I have no question as to his integrity and what he was doing and he did not sell any land to Portico. He did not give any land to any family member. He did not give any land to any friend. There is no proof of that. I saw the list a bunch of PUP donors sold land to Portico. David Morales and Andrew Bennett and David Morales’s girlfriend and mom and this one they sold the land to Portico. How they got that land, again, I have not seen any proof that the former Minister of Lands made any arrangements or did anything inappropriate or was a part of any scheme or any collusion.”
Barrow went on to explain that if there is anyone that should be investigated or blamed it should be persons at the land department who he says may have placed the documents on the minister’s desk.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “There’s no one else to blame other than the people that presented the files on his desk, as I said. You can’t blame the minister. The minister does not vet, go through this process, go through that process, go through the other process. That’s why the minister has a team, the minister signs. So as a minister, you would want to have confidence in your team, that they would not put anything on your desk that was not proper. And so I know Hugo Pat, and I know all Hugo Pat wanted to do was to help as many people as possible that are in need of land. That’s why we started the mobile land clinics. So maybe in the future what we could do is to separate files that are presented to the minister from first-time landowners to those who are doing business or who have proposals I don’t know what the proposals attach to the acres that were given I don’t know what those proposals look like, but that is something when I’m prime minister that we will be implementing to make sure that there’s a distinction between those that are in need that don’t have a piece of land and those that are just hogging land.”
Notably, Love News is unable to say whether any parcels of land acquired by the persons mentioned were done so under questionable pretenses.