6th Mar 2016

Source: Kaieteur News

The legal challenge to the sale of plots of land at Pradoville 2 took a surprising turn when Attorney for Ramesh Dookhoo and Florrie Ramnauth, Devindra Kissoon, intervened in the proceedings and filed an application to dismiss the case instead of defending the matter.
A group headed by former APNU Member of Parliament Desmond Trotman moved to the High Court last September seeking, among other things, to have the sale of the land declared null and void. They argued that the sales were done surreptitiously at undervalued prices to former government Ministers, officials and cronies of the PPP/C.

Trotman and the Committee for the Defence for the Constitution Inc, represented by Senior Counsel Rex McKay and Neil Boston, Bettina Glasford and Brenden Glasford, filed the constitutional action claiming that they were discriminated against in violation of Article 149 of the Constitution, seeking ten declarations to have the court declare the transfer of lands unlawful and asking the Court to set aside the “purported sale and transfer to the putative owners” of the said parcels of land and an order directing each owner that the legal and beneficial ownership of the lands vest in the Minister of Finance.
Both Ramesh Dookhoo and Florrie Ramnauth purchased lands in Pradoville 2 in 2010. Ramnauth later constructed a house.

Kissoon, in filing his application to dismiss, argued that the action “Constitutes a gross abuse of the Court’s process, being filed more than five years after the passage of title to the Intervenors, this in ordinate delay alone as a matter of law being sufficient to dismiss the Applicants’ motion.”

Kissoon argued that if the Court grants the reliefs sought, the intervenors would be deprived of their property in violation of the constitution without just compensation. Kissoon also argued that the applicants have failed to demonstrate that they are true comparators to the purchasers of the Pradoville 2 land, that they have failed to properly state how they have been discriminated against, there being no proof that they even attempted to purchase the lands, and that there is a separate procedure under the Acquisition of Lands for Public Purpose Act which provides the only constitutional basis upon which land can be seized from a private citizen.

Kissoon argued that the Trotman-led applicants were laboring under the “misconception that the Constitution is panacean in character, capacitated for the eventual solution of all legal problems.” Kissoon’s motion to dismiss comes up before Chief Justice Yonette Cummings on Tuesday.


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