Questions raised about the inclusion of Westmoreland plot in affidavit
With the operations of CLICO International Life (CIL) remaining under heavy public scrutiny, the former Chief Executive Officer of Rayside Construction Ltd, Marquetta Rayside is questioning how ownership of an upscale property at Westmoreland, St James ended up in the hands of former CIL boss Leroy Parris.
The property, reportedly now valued at $2.2 million, was recently listed among several owned by Parris in an affidavit prepared by his attorney, Hal Gollop QC.
However, Rayside, who was made redundant by the company in December 2005, said up until that time Lot No 15 was part of the company’s assets, held by the then Barbados National Bank.
A year later, the heavily indebted construction company, which was established by the late Keith Rayside, was acquired by the CLICO group of companies in 2006.
Giving further details on the acquisition of the asset, Rayside said: “Lot No 15, Mount Standfast, Westmoreland, St James, was given to Rayside Construction Ltd. by owner Jeffrey Chandler, in lieu of payment, for work done on the project by the company.
“Rayside Construction Ltd put in all the services and developed the land for Chandler. Instead of paying in the currency of the realm, he gave the company LOT No 15,” she said.
The wife of the late construction magnate also shared copies of the tax demand notice for the financial year, 1999-2000 for the up-market 38 955 sq ft plot, which carried a site value of $350 600 at the time. No improved value of the property was mentioned at that time.
Today, a former director of Rayside also expressed surprise that the lot was listed among Parris’ assets but did not want to be quoted.
However, a check with the Land Registry Department and the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office – both located in Warrens, St Michael – showed that the property is now owned by Highrise Investment Ltd, whose registered office and mailing address are Aquatic Gap, Bay Street, St Michael.
Further investigations by Barbados TODAY revealed that the sole director of the investment company is attorney-at-law Gale Prescod, a former associate of Thompson and Associates – the law firm operated by deceased former Prime Minister David Thompson, which was also located at Aquatic Gap.
Prescod, who now practises at De Nova Legal, Hastings Main Road, Christ Church, could not be reached today for comment.
However, when contacted, Parris’ attorney said as far as he was aware, the property belonged to his client, while dismissing questions about Parris’ accumulation of wealth after over 30 years with the company.
Back in February, the former CIL boss applied to the High Court to overturn an order by Justice William Chandler freezing his assets and those of his company Branlee Consulting Services Inc.
In the application, Parris claimed that the order had created hardships for him and the company, preventing them from meeting “their usual living and business expenses”.