The families were feuding for some four years over the fact that GBPA Honorary Chairman Sir Jack Hayward was insisting that he owned 75 percent of the company, while the Estate of Edward St. George held firm that their ownership status was at 50 percent. The long court battle which had reached the Court of Appeal by February, came to an end in July, however, the terms of the settlement agreement between Sir Jack, the St. George Estate and former Chairman Hannes Babak are confidential.
Fred Smith QCSir Jack was said to be out of the country when The Freeport News contacted his office for an up-date. However, Fred Smith, attorney for the Estate of Edward St. George (pictured), said the agreement had brought an end to a very destructive war between the parties. "It will help to bring peace and a positive energy in the future development of Freeport through the Grand Bahama Port Authority," he said.
By July, the Court of Appeal had sanctioned and sealed a consent order in which all of the appeals and all of the Supreme Court litigation were settled.
"This effectively means that the St. Georges and the Haywards are back running the Port Authority as equal shareholders. Both families are looking to a bright and cooperative future, not only for the benefit of the families, but obviously for the benefit of the Port Group of Companies and by extension for the benefit of the residents of Freeport," Smith said.
"After all, he added, far too much negative energy was spent by everybody involved over the last five years in this war and now that everyone concerned can focus their energies on what needs to be done to bring in investors, to run the Port Group of Companies as a proper city, to help businesses here and to promote a general state of commune cooperation between the government, Port Authority, the licensees and residents."