In spite of possible court challenges regarding the ownership of the
Alfa Nero, the Browne Administration went through with the sale of
the super yacht on Friday morning at 10 a.m., as planned.
Reports say that two applications for emergency injunctions were
filed in the courts: one in the High Court and the other in the Eastern
Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal.
The Appeal court denied the application, reports add, and this
prompted Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin to quickly
get word to Port Manager Darwin Telemaque, giving the green light
to proceed with the auction.
Following what the Government hoped was a transparent exercise,
carried out in the conference room of the Treasury Department, Eric Schmidt, a New Yorker, was declared the winner, with the highest
bid of US$ 67.6 million.
Schmidt is said to have served as the chief executive officer of
Google between 2001 and 2011.
He now has seven days in which to make actual payment on the
yacht, or the second-highest bidder will be eligible to purchase the
The port manager says the second-highest bid was US$66 million
while a US$25 million bid reportedly was not considered.
It had been reported earlier that as many as 20 bids had been
received. It is assumed that, if true, the other bidders did not pass
the United States’ due diligence assessment of the potential buyers,
which was to have taken place after sanctions on the vessel were
lifted in May.
Following the auction, Ickford Roberts, the accountant-general, was
handed back the bids, which had been in his custody previously.
Reportedly, these are to be re-placed in a locked safe to which only
he holds the combination.
The process was observed and overseen by three persons:
Magistrate Dexter Wason; Patrick Ryan, the managing director of
GEO W. Bennett Brysons Company Ltd.; and the chaplain of the
Parliament, a pastor of the Salvation Army faith.
Telemaque has described Friday’s process as excellent and adds that
the observers brought credibility and transparency to the process.
The sale of the 2,059-ton vessel clears the way for it to be removed
from Falmouth Harbour, where it has been docked since February
The Government had been paying to maintain the vessel, including
compensation to the crew, and had promised that, when it is sold,
some of the proceeds would be used to pay creditors.