No room for unstamped proxy votes

Business

No room for unstamped proxy votes

Tell Claudienne

Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


Dear Claudienne,

The proprietors of SeaCastles Strata (PSP 452) are in desperate need for clarification regarding the proxy for voting purposes.

Since the inception of this strata in 1991 the executive committee has been using the proxy to disenfranchise the proprietors, especially those in the Diaspora.

At the annnual general meeting (AGM) the question of what is the legitimate proxy is always posed. Some years it may be accepted without stamp and other times a stamp is required.

We were told that it is the law of Jamaica that a proxy shouldbe registered at the tax office, with a Jamaican stamp attached.

The executive has even requested that overseas proprietors place an original Jamaican stamp on their proxy. No post office in any foreign country sells Jamaican stamps. Some proprietors in the Diaspora endure to the added expense of getting a notary to witness their proxy yet still theproxy is declined. The cost for that in the US is a minimal US$2.00 but those in the UK have to see an attorney for that, only for it to bedenied.

At each AGM there is always a proxy problem as the executive committee uses the proxy as a weapon for the benefits of some. Some proprietors have questioned the inconsistency of the proxy requirements but the executive committee feels that theyhave the right to disregard what is prudent.

I contacted the strata commission which advised that there is a standard proxy on their website.

SeaCastles (PSP 452) downloaded that proxy and took it upon themselves to modify it by adding paragraph4.

In 2018 I went to the tax office in Montego Bay to confirm what we believe to be misinformation and was informed that they have never heard of that and so they could not stamp my proxy. I was advised to write to the minister of finance.

I mailed a letter to the Ministry of Finance but to date I have not received any response. I am assuming that it never actually arrived. As youcan see there were two different proxies sent to the proprietors in 2017 .

Some proprietors signed the first one, only to have it be rejected. Not only that, the time was too short but the proprietors were too disgusted with the deliberate ploy.

On behalf of all the proprietors of SeaCastles (PSP 452) I am asking if you would clarify this matter with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) as the upcoming AGM in the third week of October 2020 will be another fiasco.

Also, I have attached some of the various proxies which have been used.

GD

Dear GD

When Tell Claudienne requested the Ministry of Finance to clarify the question of Proxy for Strata Properties in respect of voting purposes, the legal department at the MOF said that the clarification should be done by the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ).

Please see the TAJ legal unit response to a Tell Claudienne query sent to the TAJ's chief corporate communications officer.

Tell Claudienne has spoken to the chairman of the Executive Committee of SeaCastles (PSP452) and has forwarded the TAJ legal unit's response re strata proxy to him. The TAJ legal unit response reads as follows:

“We make reference to the matter at caption which was reduced in an e-mail dated October 10, 2020 which was forwarded to the Legal Support Division on March 5, 2020. As it pertains to guidance for proxy voting, guidance is found in the Stamp Duty Act and a sample of a proxy document for the purposes of voting is contained on the Commission of Strata Corporations website.

While there seems to be confusion about the process of making a proxy document valid in the present case, the Stamp Duty Act, Section 23 states what is required in making such documents valid. The section states as follows:

23. Letters or powers of attorney appointing proxy to vote.

23 (1) “Every letter or power of attorney for the purposes ofappointing a proxy to vote at a particular meeting, and every voting paper respectively charged under this Act with the duty of 10 dollars, is to specify the day upon which the meeting at which it is intended to be used is to be held, and is to be available only at meetings so specified, and any adjournment thereof.

(2) “The duty of 10 dollars may be denoted by an adhesive stamp, which is to be cancelled by the person by whom the instrument is executed, and a letter or power of attorney or voting paper charged with the duty of two cents, is not to be stamped after the execution thereof by any person.

(3) “Every person who makes or executes, or votes, or attempts to vote, under or by means of any letter or power of attorney or voting paper, not being duly stamped, shall incur a fine of $5,000, and every vote given or tendered under the authority or by means of the letter or power of attorney or voting paper shall be void.”

Analysis:

A Proxy gives an agent or nominee the right to vote on behalf of the right holder in their absence, it is in substance a power of attorney.

For the purposes of this discourse a proxy is not validated until it satisfies the requirement of the Stamp Duty Act. The Schedule to the Stamp Duty Act states that such a document should be stamped to the amount of $100. Therefore, a proxy document not duly stamped cannot be valid for the purpose of voting. Any such document is incomplete and could not give the nominee the power to vote for the right holder. The Act creates an offence where the right holder or the nominee attempts to use or uses the unstamped document. They shall incur a fine of $5000 and every vote given or tendered shall be void.

Conclusion:

The strata is not at liberty to implement rules concerning the stamping of documents. They are to satisfy the requirements of the Stamp Duty Act in relation to proxy documents each and every time there is to be a vote.”

We wish you all the best.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT