Property owner seeks lands inquiry’s help to resolve claims

Dexter Cameron (Commission of Inquiry photo)

An Eccles resident last Tuesday appeared before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into land issues with an appeal for help to resolve multiple claims to his property.

Dexter Cameron related to the commission that he has had a years-long battle over the property, which was transferred to him by his grandmother in 2012.

Cameron’s contention is that the documents being used by the others to claim title over the land are based on an expired lease.

“…I realised upon checking my grandmother documents, she leave a transport that says the numbers… showing that these lease was given in a period of time of 1949. From a period of 1949, 20 years, that was expired in 1969. Upon seeing so, I recognised no lease was never renewed by anyone, by my grandmother or anyone. However, four different sets of persons are occupying the land there,” he said.

He said that in 1981, his grandmother had obtained two parts of shares and in 1991 put in for another three parts of shares through petition, giving her five parts of shares as stated on the transport.

“Now all these persons there on this land that claim they have documentation or using the document of [1949], which in my mind is expired,” Cameron explained.

The land, located at E-1/2 Hadfield Street, is being claimed by four other individuals, he said, which he learnt after attempting to secure a mortgage and being told that he could not because the property was in dispute.

Cameron indicated that there are several houses on the property, with each person allegedly being in possession of documentation to legitimise their claim.

Those persons are reportedly Fitz Rupert Lewis, who allegedly obtained a 999 year lease in 2013. He said that Lewis placed an injunction barring him from doing anything to the property and it was put on “normal course” and is still before the High Court.

“…Can I please go on to say based on that 999 year lease, the document that he has obtained…I have noticed in that document it says my grandmother’s name is Chloe Augustus Austin, also known as Una. Upon getting that document in pass, it has a signature there signed Una Austin, who gave permission. Now, my grandmother send an affidavit from Canada…before she died I get her to do that. So, the affidavit shows that her signature was never Una, and that is there on the document that he has for the 999. So, this is one of the things that I brought up to the police as well,” Cameron told the commission.

The other person named was Derek Washington, who was said to have obtained documentation for another part of the land in 2015 although Cameron had already initiated proceedings against him. A report has also been made against Washington, who has reportedly constructed a two-storey building on the property. He has reportedly claimed that the land was left to him in a will by the person occupying it before.

Jennifer Doobay is reportedly claiming another portion of the land based on prescriptive rights, although Cameron related that he has received correspondence from the Mayor and City Council to demolish the building she is occupying, but to wait on the removal of the occupants, which is yet to occur.

Cameron said he was advised to take the matter to the High Court and did. He stated that is was put on normal course and “never called again.”

The last individual named was James Norville. Cameron said he is now deceased, but stated that the man’s niece is now collecting rent from the tenants there and claiming ownership, although he could not find documentation at the registry to show that Norville owned the land. Additionally, he claimed that during a period when Norville was ill, he had went with him to the tenants, and the man had related that the property belonged to him (Cameron) and so they would have to remove.

Norville was said to have had a 20 year lease.

As it relates to the 999 year lease held by Lewis, Commissioner Carol Khan-James questioned whether the piece being claimed by him could not have been left out from the portion stated on Cameron’s transport.

“Mr Cameron, what we may need to do is to look at the plan that defines the portion of land that is referred to here. It does say five undivided seven parts share of the west half. So let me explain to you what is going on the west half,” she began.

“There are seven shares of land, your grandmother has transport for five of those seven shares. We need to examine, therefore, the plan that shows the seven parts and to see whether the part…has been excised. Maybe in your mind you’re thinking no, but we don’t know. So it needs some further examination,” she stated.

Khan-James said that the commission may need to examine the plan on which the 999-year lease is based.

“…In all of this, from the time 2012 to now, within all these things, applying through the court and all these other things, at this time, I’m totally broke. So why it is I apply to this commission is to get some help in some sort of way because where I’m living right now, I’m paying rent and I’ve been given notice to move. Now that time has passed, I need to remove. I don’t have a place to go…so my situation is up to my neck,” the witness related.

He said he has observed that these sorts of court matters tend to go on for an extended period, but opined that his matter should have concluded by now. “I would like the commission to assist me in getting this thing right in regarding the court, and in terms of documentation and whatever else,” he added.

Cameron may be recalled before the commission following investigations.

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