As the controversy unfolds with Fontabelle Estate in Westmoreland, the Opposition MP, Victor Wright has divulged letters revealing a 2011 lease agreement with SCJ Holdings, receipts for electricity payment, and subsequent communication between himself and the company.
Victor Wright is rejecting claims made by the Prime Minister suggesting the Opposition has captured state lands, he is also denying statements by SCJ Holdings that he continues to occupy the property despite a notice to quit and deliver up the land.
In an interview, Victor Wright said, “What is a fact is that there is an ongoing issue between former sugar workers and the SCJ Holdings that has not treated us with the level of respect that they should have treated us with…”
He also said, “They gave us a lease in 2011 that spoke to us occupying premises. I mean we did not go out and solicit these lands, I took up the offer to lease and to purchase and have been paying my bills. We were in multiple transactions with SCJ Holdings. They are indebted to us. They have funds in holding for me and so even if there is an outstanding balance there is enough funding there to clear it.”
The matter has reportedly been in dispute since 2014 when he was given the notice to quit and deliver up possession of the land due to outstanding funds.
“Immediately upon receiving that notice to quit we wrote to them asking for a meeting, the truth is there are about fifty residents and after that meeting nine of us produced receipts and documents to prove that we were not in breach, we were then offered an extension.”, Wright explained.
“So, notice to quit came out of part of a routine matter. It was not final, it was disputed per clauses in the lease and we proved that we were paying and that the SCJ was not keeping good records. They were not able to say who was paying and who was not. I was one of the persons that had paid up and I still have those receipts to date.”, Wright said.
Wright noted that none of the residents on the property or himself have heard from SCJ Holdings since then. The matter now, being highlighted by the Prime Minister, he believes is a cause for concern.
“Currently, I am waiting on SCJ Holdings to get the subdivision approved by the Westmoreland parish council so they can offer us the property for sale as was initially agreed,” Wright said.
While the Prime Minister did not identify Wright in his utterances at the Area 1 council meeting, the PNP has accused him of creating a smokescreen amid corruption allegations in the JLP.