KINGSTOWN, SVG (BreadFruit News) – Contested divorce settlements always reveal the ‘hidden truth’ but one millionaire in St. Vincent and the Grenadines refused to reveal the true extent of his wealth to the court during a recent matrimonial case heard in the High Court before Judge Nicola Byer.
While his ex-wife Joanne Balcombe nee Dabreo also did not reveal 20 years of income, it was Georgetown resident and former husband Allison Balcombe’s obfuscation that led the court to conclude he was ‘a stranger to the truth’ as to his means. The court further said he “gave evasive answers to matters.”
The court said that Mr Balcombe had stated that as a man of 70 he is way past his prime as to his earning capacity to provide any payment of cash to his ex-wife.
While he admitted to still be in possession of a large parcel of land, he said he had sold some smaller lots on behalf his company Stalk Plantation Limited.
However, the court said there was clear evidence that Balcombe’s company had acquired 3 large parcels of land during his marriage of 13 acres, 144 acres and 195 acres with an excess of $1 million dollars in solvency.
The land owner also contended in his evidence that “his ex-wife brought nothing of value to the marriage and that it was the respondent [he] who instead bore all financial burdens even after they had separated and that in a nutshell she is not entitled to anything more,” other than the parcels of land and Florida home he had already agreed on.
Mr Balcombe gave the court the impression that he could not recollect certain matters with regards to his wealth but remembered quite well his debts.
Moreover, he asserted that “he maintains himself from the sale of cattle and the sale of arrowroot from one acre of land that he maintains in cultivation.”
Judge Byer not convinced said that:
“by virtue of this assessment, the court is satisfied that the respondent’s access to means is not as limited as he purports to state…”
The Court also found that “he makes an undisclosed income from the sale of vehicles imported from the United Kingdom which only became apparent upon diligent cross examination before the court.”
“This court accepts that the respondent’s evidence before this court was meant to hide his true assets from the court and the petitioner” [his ex-wife].
Judge Byer strongly concluded that:
“However in looking at this matter, what did become clear is that the respondent having failed to properly disclose his financial assets save in the barest of terms, this court is of the opinion and draws the inference that during the marriage the respondent acquired considerable wealth in the form of land. It is this land that gives the respondent the ability to maintain his lifestyle and this court does not believe that he has divested himself of the bulk of the same as he wished the court to accept.”
Not impressed, she noted it was however interesting to hear the respondent who appeared to give the impression that he was an old feeble man definitively answer on cross examination how he was the only shareholder in his company to have invested either money or land.
The court awarded his ex-wife a house in Florida, two parcels of land at Arnos Vale and cash EC$332,000.00