Justices of the Peace should not prepare legal documents

Dear Editor,

The ongoing practice by Justices of the Peace to prepare legal documents for a fee when it is not within their authority to do so is proving inimical to the society and stringent measures need to be taken for them to confine their operations within the ambit of the law.

My understanding of the functions of a JP is to be involved in attesting documents but very often, they prepare contentious documents as was done a few days ago in my district of Region 2 where a brother will now be moving to the courts to challenge the validity of an Agreement of Sale and Purchases made for a property.

In this particular case, the JP accepted ownership of the property by the vendors on the basis of “word of mouth” without any tangible form of verification to whom the property belonged.

The plight of the brother, 46 year old Dennis Persaud, was revealed to me as he related that the property located at Lot 10, Cotton Field, Essequibo Coast with a building thereon was left without the title being transferred after the demise of his parents who left five daughters and two sons, one of whom is mentally retarded.

None of the family members did anything to obtain a legal document for the property after the death of his father and mother in 1982.

He was born there and continued to live in the house even after his marriage and throughout the years, he was the only one who paid the rates and taxes and did maintenance works on the property.

In pursuit of a better life, he and his wife left for Trinidad to work to augment their income so as to raise enough money to do improvement works especially on the house on their return.

After spending just one year abroad, during which time the house was unoccupied, he was taken by surprise to get the shocking news that his five sisters had sold the property which caused him to return hurriedly as he was never consulted about the sale to which he would not have agreed.

The transaction was confirmed by the purchaser and the JP who told him that according to his sisters, he was dead.

His sisters are all wealthy with him being the poorest among the family. He said he will seek redress in the courts.

Yours faithfully,

Baliram Persaud

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