You are here
PoS Corporation wins land dispute with state body
The Port-of-Spain City Corporation scored a major legal victory yesterday against the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) over ownership of a 23-acre parcel of land at Westmoorings. In a 20-page judgment delivered in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday Justice Carol Gobin ruled the disputed land had been in the continuous and undisturbed possession of the corporation since the 1980s.
The land, sometimes referred to as the Cocorite Farm, is located on the Western Main Road in Westmoorings opposite The Falls, West Mall. Ruling in the corporation’s favour Gobin said: “In the circumstances, the entry by the claimant (WASA) on the subject lands in or about 2010 was illegal.”
Following yesterday’s judgment, Lee Sing and deputy mayor Kerron Valentine hosted a news conference at City Hall, Knox Street, Port-of- Spain. At the conference, Lee Sing announced that the corporation met last week to discuss the issue and decided that the disputed land should be converted into a green park instead of locating a school as previously proposed.
The facility will include park benches, a children’s playground and a walking track. “The city recognises the overdevelopment taking place in west Port-of-Spain; insufficient attention has been given to the establishment of green spaces in Portof- Spain,” Lee Sing said. He said in developing the project the corporation will be working with all neighbouring residential associations. The facility is expected to be named the West Park Savannah.
Gobin stated the authority did not provide the court with evidence to show the lands were vested to them (WASA). Commenting on the legislation, Gobin said: “The language is so vague that it is surprising that it has not resulted in more litigation of this kind.” Upon her delivering judgment, the authority requested a 42-day stay of execution to allow for an appeal.
However, Gobin agreed to a 21-day stay only. WASA was represented by Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam, attorneys Larry Lalla and Nyree Alfonso, while John Jeremie, SC, and Kerwyn Garcia represented the city corporation. In the lawsuit, WASA claimed ownership of the property through statutory vesting which formed part of the WASA Act which came into effect in 1965.
Facts The dispute arose in 2011 when the authority resumed water production at the site which had been discontinued in the 80s, while placing signs to re-establish the property boundaries. On September 14 that year, the corporation’s chief executive officer advised WASA’s chief executive officer that the authority should cease and desist all activities on the acreage.
WASA maintained its position. The following day, the corporation moved onto the site and tore down the signs. WASA workers were allegedly threatened with arrests for trespass, according to the documents presented in court. WASA claimed it was the corporation which was trespassing. Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing and the corporation opposed the actions taken by the authority
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.