Above: Salt Cay
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Turks and Caicos Islands announced that it had agreed to settle all current claims and proceedings involving developer Mario Hoffman and the Salt Cay Development Companies, according to Attorney General Huw Shepheard.
While the terms of the settlement were confidential, the parties agreed to make public several significant items: Hoffman and the companies transferred to the govenrment all the lands on Salt Cay which they owned or leased, totaling 1,506 acres; Hoffman and the companies made a contribution to the government’s costs; Hoffman surrendered his Belongership and neither Hoffman nor the companies admitted any wrongdoing or civil or criminal liability when entering into the settlement.
“We are pleased that these disputes have now been settled, and in consequence, that the position of Salt Cay is now secured with the transfer of all the respective lands on Salt Cay to the government,” Shepheard said. “The government will be undertaking a broad consultation as to the future of Salt Cay.”
Salt Cay was the site of a planned eco-resort that was ultimately stalled; that came after the Turks and Caicos saw its autonomy suspended following allegations of corruption across the TCI.
“We have at all times maintained our innocence with respect to all allegations of misconduct and corruption made against us, and determined that it was most convenient and expedient to enter into the settlement rather than continue on with the disputes in relation to Salt Cay,” Hoffman said. “We are pleased to put these disputes behind us. We have maintained our innocence at all times and continue to think that our project for Salt Cay was a good one for the people of Salt Cay and the Turks and Caicos Islands.”