Lamaha Gardens playground to be restored to previous owners –ministry official

The Lamaha Gardens playground at the centre  of a dispute over its sale is to be restored to its previous owners, an official in the Labour Ministry says.

The official further said that all persons who were involved in the recent sale are likely to have actions brought against them for their roles in the transaction.

“No one will be spared, absolutely no one. Once we have valid reasons to permit such actions, we will then go ahead and perform the necessary procedures,” a Labour Ministry official told Stabroek News, a day after it was revealed that Chief Co-operatives Development Officer Kareem Abdul-Jabar was sent on indefinite administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing before the Public Service Commission for his role in the property sale.

The Labour Ministry launched an investigation after concerns were raised by residents over the sale of Durbana Square property, which has been used for decades by the community as a recreational area and a playground. A report has been completed and submitted to President Donald Ramotar and it was on the basis of its findings that Abdul-Jabar was sent on leave.

The ministry official, who asked not to be named, said yesterday that the return of the Durbana Square property to its owners will have to be pursued through legal procedures, for which the Ministry of Labour has sought advice and guidance from the Attor-ney General Anil Nandlall.

The official added that legal advice will now have to be sought due to the fact that the transport for the plot of land was already issued to the buyer.
Minister of Labour Dr Nanda Gopaul confirmed that the ministry has sought further advice from the Attorney General on the procedure to have the land restored to residents of Lamaha Gardens.

The property has been claimed by the Guyana Public Service Housing Cooperative, which is the successor to the Civil Service Association Housing Cooperative Society that was recognised as the owner.

The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) recently said that it only became aware of the move to sell the land in November last year, when a notice, inviting bids by November 23, 2012, was placed in the Guyana Chronicle by Liquidator Cecil Ramnarine.

Attorney Joseph Harmon subsequently sent to Ramnarine, dated November 20, 2012, in order to prevent him from going moving ahead with the transaction.  In his letter to Ramnarine, Harmon identified himself as the lawyer for the Civil Service Association Cooperative Housing Society and noted that his clients instructed him that Ramnarine’s appointment as liquidator and his invitation for bids were done without their knowledge and consent. He inquired as to the authority for Ramnarine’s appointment as liquidator, while also asking that he cease and desist from the sale and withdraw the notice placed in the Chronicle.

The GPSU had also released a copy of a demand for payment of rates and taxes for 2012 that was sent to the union by the Mayor and City Council, which listed the owners as the “P.S.A Housing Cooperative” Society.

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