Business

Land title delivered after two decades

Tell Claudienne

Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, July 15, 2012    

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Dear Claudienne

I am having a problem in getting my title from the St Ann Bauxite Company and I am asking you to intervene on my behalf.

In 1990 my father, now deceased, sold land at Watt Town, St Ann to Kaiser Bauxite Company for cash and exchange of one acre of land at Lindale, in the same parish. I am writing to you on November 10, 2006 and it is now 16 years since the transaction and the company has still not issued a title for the one acre of land.

A letter was sent to the company signed by my father in the presence of a JP that the title should be put in my name.

On my father's death his will stated that the land was mine.

I have made several phone calls and visits to the bauxite company's office and was told that I would hear from them.

When I called the office on November 8, 2006, the secretary in the legal department promised to call me in half an hour but she did not.

Kindly see what can be done for me.

PH

Dear PH

In December 2006,Tell Claudienne wrote to the General Manager of the St Ann Bauxite Company (now Norandah Bauxite Partners) seeking clarification as to what was delaying the issuing of the title. At that time we requested a rough estimate as to when the title would be ready.

In May 2007 the Manager advised us that the subdivision at Lindale, of which your lot was a part, had to be inspected by the St Ann Parish Council. However, he explained that the company had to do infrastructural work on the subdivision before the PC could inspect it and that the company was bidding for a contractor to do the work.

In July 2007, we also got a letter from the bauxite company's attorney setting out the history of this transaction.

The attorney said that an option to purchase unregistered lands from your deceased father was taken by the Commissioner of Lands in October 1990 and as part of the purchase agreement the vendor was given the Lindale lot. Your father issued instructions to the bauxite company to issue the title in the name of his daughter PH.

The company said that your father was "placed in possession of the property with all the attendant rights and privileges of landowner in possession. It is understood however that PH wishes to have her ownership recorded," the lawyer said.

In regard to the Lindale subdivision, the bauxite company said that the subdivision approval was received for 217 lots from the St Ann PC.

"In the 1990's a surveyor was engaged to carry out survey works on the Lindale subdivision as the pre-checked plan is a necessary prerequisite to obtain titles. For implementation, the scheme was divided into North and South Lindale, (your lot being in South Lindale). In 2003 it was discovered that there were numerous errors on the plans prepared by the surveryor and a decision was taken by the company to re-survey North and South Lindale as errors in the survey would preclude titles being issued. Up to 2004 all the pre-checked plans were still not received from the contracted surveyor. By 2005 the new plan for South Lindale was prepared by our internal surveyor.

"The failure of the contracted surveyor to provide us with the relevant plans, then the need to re-survey the scheme (which encompasses 480 acres), precluded our timely application for the title.

Now that the pre-checked plan is available the infrastructure which was constructed in the 1990s has deteriorated. Before the PC can be requested to inspect the scheme infrastructure (roads drainages ec..), same has to be brought back to scratch."

The infrastructural work was very protracted, so Tell Claudienne sought the assistance of a senior manager at the Jamaica Bauxite Institute to have it completed in a timely manner.

By the time the infrastructural work was completed and it was expected that the PC inspection would be done in May 2008, the superintendent who was to do the inspection was transferred to another parish in June 2008.

When the new superintendent visited the site to do the inspection in October 2008, he gave instructions for additional work to be done before it could get PC approval.

By December 2009 we were advised by the lawyer that all the documents were packaged and ready to be sent to the Titles office for the splinter titles for the subdivision to be prepared.

However, by July 2010, it was discovered that the bauxite company could not find the parent title.

The puzzle was not finally sorted out and the splinter titles for the lots prepared by the Titles office until November/December 2011.

We note that the title for your lot was handed over to you by Norandah Bauxite Company on Tuesday (July 10).

We further note that the company transported you to the site to show you the lot.

Good luck.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail: edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.

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