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Dec 30, 2008

Businessman David Gegg takes Jaguar Paw to court

Story PictureOne of his companies was named in our headline story last night when we reported that the Ministry of Culture was up in arms over an undisclosed contract with the President of the National Institute of Culture and History, Diane Haylock unknown to her Board of Directors, the Ministry and Minister Marcel Cardona. Tonight, it is another company of tourism businessman David Gegg in the news. Gegg has filed an application for an injunction against Jaguar Paw Resort located on the Western Highway. This time, Gegg is asking the court to order Jaguar Paw to reopen its zip line operations to his company, Zip Line Adventures, which caters to cruise tourism. On December eleventh, News Five aired a story about the resort’s closure to Zip Line Adventures Limited after Jaguar Paw claimed that Gegg’s company owed them close to seven hundred thousand dollars for not living up to its part of the bargain to pay for the use of Jaguar Paw’s property for tours. Now Gegg, through his attorney Michel Chebat, is asking the court order Jaguar Paw to reopen to his tours. But Attorney for Jaguar Paw, Elson Kaseke, says the litigation against his client is baseless.

Elson Kaseke, Attorney for Jaguar Paw
“Under the Articles of Association of Zip Line Belize Limited there are certain matters which are called Reserved Shareholder matters. By this they mean that, for example, if the company wants to institute litigation involving a claim above fifty thousand dollars it needs the unanimous written approval of all its shareholders given in general meeting. Now there was no general meeting from February and at that meeting no such approval was given either to David Gegg or to Zip Line Adventures Belize Limited. As things stand right now it is our submission that Mr. David Gegg brought this litigation without the approval of the company. He is seeking to use the company in order to advance his own interests in Cruise Solutions Belize Limited.”

Marion Ali
“Ok, you’ve also filed a counter application against David Gegg?”

Elson Kaseke
“It is precisely on that basis that we are seeking the court to strike out everything because he is not authorized to have brought this claim at all.”

And how did matters come to a head? As far as we have ascertained, there are three investors, including one from Barbados, the second group being Donna and Claude Young, major shareholders of Jaguar Paw, and a third called Micro Management Limited controlled by Gegg. Each group contributed eighty thousand dollars to establish a zip line on Jaguar Paw Resort’s property. All this was done in 2005, but Jaguar Paw Resort itself was not a shareholder in this venture. Kaseke explains.

Elson Kaseke
“Jaguar Paw Resort itself was not a partner, it was not a shareholder in this venture so the investors realized that they needed the approval of Jaguar Paw and they concluded what is known as a joint-venture agreement whereby they set out various obligations, responsibilities and benefits. In that joint venture agreement they specifically agreed in clause four point one to a three-side agreement. First, that the company, Zip Line Adventures Belize Limited was going to enter into a lease agreement with Jaguar Paw whereby Jaguar Paw was going to authorize Zip Line Adventures Limited to establish their zip line at this property and to determine the rentals which were going to be paid, the user fees which were going to be paid to Jaguar Paw for each person that goes to use the zip line. That agreement was never executed because in our respectful view, the Chairman of the company who is Mr. David Gegg, declined to execute it. There was also another agreement to be called a Supply Agreement, which was contemplated under the joint venture agreement and under the Supply Agreement what was contemplated was that when the Zip Line guests would finish their cave-tubing and their zip line activities and so on they would then go to Jaguar Paw and have food and beverages there at a price. Now again that agreement was never executed because as things now stand, Mr. David Gegg is building his own restaurant outside the property of Zip Line on the government park. Again that is a clear breach of the joint venture agreement.”

Marion Ali
“But they’ve been operating since what, 2005. Now this is the end of 2008. Why are you just now coming to court?”

Elson Kaseke
“Because there was a relative period when, although the agreements had not been executed, the parties were performing their various obligations in the spirit of the joint venture agreement. Jaguar Paw is not a party to the joint venture agreement; it is not a subscriber to Zip Line Belize Limited. It says but you are using my property, you are not paying me rent. I’m deriving no benefit from these arrangements therefore I don’t want you on my property. It was from that context that this whole dispute arose.”

Today Gegg’s attorney, Michel Chebat declined to comment. The hearing will begin at nine-thirty on January seventh before Justice Minnet Hafiz Bertram.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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