THE Registrar General has been directed to cancel the registration of a deed for the L’Anse Fourmi Estate in Tobago, and the company which claimed ownership of the property has been restrained from selling, leasing, mortgaging or entering it.
The order was handed down by Chief Justice Ivor Archie, and Justices of Appeal Peter Rajkumar and Andre des Vignes, who gave their ruling in a dispute over the ownership of the property.
The L’Anse Fourmi Trust Holding Company appealed a 2014 decision of the high court which expunged the first of two deeds for the property.
In their decision, the three appellate judges reversed the original order and expunged the second of the two deeds.
The dispute over the ownership of the land arose between the trust company and Anse Fourmi Beach and Rainforest Resort Limited (AFB), AFB’s owner Ranjit Wijetunge and Aldric Hilton-Clarke, the original owner of the estate.
The estate was first vested by deed by Hilton-Clarke on July 5, 1995, and both the trust company and AFB claimed ownership of the estate based on competing deeds.
The trust sought to uphold the first deed executed in 2001, and registered in 2002, while AFB and Wijetunge relied on another deed by Hilton-Clarke in favour of AFB. The second deed was allegedly executed in 1997 and registered in July 2003.
The court was asked to examine the circumstances by which there came to be two deeds by the same vendor, vesting his interest in the estate on two separate occasions to two different purchasers.
In their finding, the judges held that the first deed took priority, and said the documentary evidence in the case did not support the original judge’s finding.