The Layou River Hotel Project (The Layou Project) was a pivotal project for Dominica’s tourism sector and economy. I was the audit engagement partner for The Layou Project between 1991 and 2002 during which time I experienced extraordinary, exacting and public interest professional challenges.
In 1995 that project, its pioneers and Dominica, as an investment jurisdiction for Taiwanese investors, were defamed in a documentary on Taiwan TV pursuant to a visit by the President of The Commonwealth of Dominica to the Peoples Republic of China. I resolved not to be made a victim in the Taiwan/China diplomatic war in Dominica.
In consequence I have absorbed and survived fifteen years of vulgar abuse, slander, defamation, and libel. The Layou was not my Waterloo; but the record shows I took the blows and did it the professional way. I therefore honourably discharged my sacred duty from ancient times to the Celtic Byrne Sept at home, in the Diaspora and in the Otherworld. GerTavi-et-Vici (I have fought and I have conquered, myself).
The decision of the High Court of Dominica means my professional reputation for doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons endures. ‘As above, so below’ (The Green Tablet).
I thank my solicitors, DeFreitas, DeFreitas & Johnson for their seven long years of due process of my claims and Hazel Johnson for her fearless cross-examinations. Throughout The Layou Saga’s twenty years, I also had the privilege of working with other distinguished legal counsel from the UK, Boston and Beijing. I thank all of them for their professionalism and kind understanding of The Layou Project’s travails on a road less travelled.
I remain profoundly impressed by the shared vision of Grace Tung, Adrian Zecha and Dame Eugenia Charles for The Layou Project and of their endeavours and fortitude in the face of political sabotage, construction fraud and natural disaster.
I am indebted to my wife for her loving fortitude; my daughters for their pain and suffering in being there for me, ditto to all the other Goddesses of the Byrne/Pinard families. And of course my abiding thanks to all my professional colleagues, friends and clients for their kind words of wisdom and moral support.
May my fellow Dominicans continue to live through interesting times as we reform others unconsciously when we walk uprightly.