Your editorial of Monday 17 February, 2014, refers.
It bears the caption “The sale of Lot 142 Durbana Square”, referring to a plot of land in Lamaha Gardens, Greater Georgetown. It essays with commendable detail, the path which the transport for that plot of land, vested in the Lamaha Gardens Cooperative Society, traversed, as it moved from that transportee, over to and in favour of a private citizen. It implicates officers within the Ministry of Labour, Local Government and the Deeds Registry in irregularities, fraud, or other wrongdoings of a kindred kind of different and disparate magnitudes.
Finally, at worst, it conveys the impression that the Government was complicit, or acted in concert with the unnamed individual, to deprive the Lamaha Garden Cooperative Society of this plot of land, or at a minimum, that the Government did nothing in relation thereto when its attention was drawn to the matter. It is with this impression that I take umbrage.
As soon as this matter was drawn to Cabinet’s attention, certain instructions were issued and instantaneous actions taken, as detailed hereunder.
(1) An investigation was immediately launched into the involvement of the office of Cooperative Development Officer, Ministry of Labour. The holder of that office was implicated and dismissed. He has since launched a legal challenge against his dismissal. The matter is currently before the Court of Appeal of Guyana.
(2) An inquiry was launched at the Deeds Registry in respect of the said transaction. No evidences of irregularity or wrongdoing were unearthed.
However, the comparative alacrity with which the transaction was processed at that department was duly noted.
(3) The Ministry of Local Government has no lawful power to waive Rates and Taxes. All or any matter in relation to the collection of Rates and Taxes falls within the remit and authority of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council. I do not pretend to be familiar with the workings of that institution and in any event, I have no authority to speak on its behalf.
(4) Upon the instruction of His Excellency the President, I met with Mr Ronald Alli, an executive member of the Lamaha Cooperative Society. At that meeting this matter was thoroughly discussed. Mr Alli requested that the Government cause the transport for the said plot of land, then already vested in the name of the new owner, to be cancelled, rescinded or annulled.
(5) I explained to Mr Alli that the issue of a transport is a judicial act and that a transport is issued under the hand of a Puisne Judge and therefore, no officer of the Government has any legal authority to cancel, rescind or annul a transport, or cause same to be done. I advised him that a transport can only be annulled, rescinded or cancelled by an order of a Puisne Judge at the instance of the aggrieved party, in this instance the Lamaha Gardens Cooperative Society and on specified grounds. My advice has since been heeded. The matter is now pending in the High Court.
I hope that this brief intervention will convince you and your readership that the impression conveyed that the Government was complicit in, or acted in concert with, or was part of some design, to deprive the Lamaha Gardens Cooperative Society of their transported property, or did nothing in relation to this matter, is palpably erroneous.
Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MP
Hon Attorney-General and
Minister of Legal Affairs