Categorized | Local, News

Lawyer calls on Deputy Governor to appoint Registrar, face possible consequence

Calls Human Resource handling of matter, incompetent –

Jean-Kelsick-at-church-service-Law-Year-opening

Attorney-at-Law Jean Kelsick

Attorney-at-Law, Jean Kelsick was the most recent attorney to call on Government to take action to provide long overdue adequate court accommodations, at the opening of the New Law Year, while speaking on behalf of the local bar association. He told the court, with newly appointed judge, Justice Anthony Astaphan presiding in Montserrat, following the address of the acting Chief Justice, the Hon. Honourable Justice Janice Pereira.

“Montserrat is a mouse that is sometimes capable of roaring,” he said in his introduction.

He said: “I will start my lord with the lack of a proper court house and facilities for the registry including proper facilities for the storage of registry documents. Both of these issues remain an open sore I regret to say. It is one that is raised annually by us at the private bar.”

“…about five years ago my lord I remember that we wrote to the then Governor, pointing out to her the registry documents were either being lost or contaminated by water and of the pressing need to address this issue by providing the registry safe and secure storage facilities. Not only are persons alive being affective by this adversity but there is a historical importance of legal documents…” as he added, “I think my lord most of us would agree that the structure in which we currently stand and sit, is an uncomfortable embarrassment to Montserrat.”

Earlier this week the Attorney Kelsick revealed a letter he wrote to the Deputy Governor (DG), copied to members of cabinet, including H E Governor Avis, Honourable  Premier, Attorney General, Minister of MAHLE, and all the Bank Managers. In the letter he reminded the DG of their conversation of:  “the fact that there is currently no Registrar of Lands, as a result of which no documents have been processed by the Land Registry for the past 3 weeks.”

The letter observed that David Gerald acted as Registrar of Lands for an extended period until he was informed a few months ago without notice that his contract would not be renewed.Courthouse-inside-(4)

However, according to the Business of Cabinet report for quarter July – September 2012, released on December 6, 2012, “Mr. Gerald was appointed from the 21st July, 2012 until end of contract or until a substantive post holder can be appointed.”

Kelsick in his letter stated that Mr. David Gerald acted as Registrar of Lands for an extended period until he was informed a few months ago, without notice, that his contract would not be renewed.

Mr. Kelsick continued in his letter, “Remarkably, Government’s Human Resources Department (HR) had made no proper arrangements for a replacement.”

“Not only is this oversight causing the general public serious inconvenience,” he said, “…it has the potential to give rise to grave injustice. …it is exposing Government to civil liability.”

He cites as reasons, “…There is no Registrar to enable the lodgment of cautions to prevent the fraudulent transfer of land. It is usually necessary to lodge cautions at very short notice. This means that because of Government’s neglect persons run the risk of being defrauded of their land.

And, “Charges to secure bank loans are not being registered. This means that banks are unprotected and therefore exposed to serious risk.”

In a ZJB newscast, The Hon. Eastern Taylor-Farrell, Minister of Agriculture, Land, Housing and the Environment (MAHLE) responded confirming Gerald’s part time activity. He reportedly said Mr. David Gerald had been working along with the ministry on a temporary basis since last December providing continuity in the land registry department, that he will continue to serve in this capacity until the position is filled.

Kelsick considers as dishonest, the comment of the Hon. Taylor-Farrell, to his current complaint regarding the lack of a Registrar which falls under his ministry. He says that Mr. Gerald merely serves a few days a week in an advisory capacity, while the Minister says hopefully by the end of this week they will have a better idea as to how the substantive position will be filled.

The attorney who joined and on behalf of his senior and other attorneys on island, charged the government of its, “statutory obligation to staff the Land Registry with a Registrar of Lands at all times,” warning further, “Any failure on its part to do so renders Government liable to compensate members of the public for any loss they may sustain because of its neglect.”

His letter concluded, “There will be no hesitation on my part in advising my clients to sue Government if they suffer any loss because of Government’s dereliction of its statutory duty,” while at the same time, accusing the HR department headed by a recently appointed Deputy Governor, of incompetence.

“HR’s incompetent handling of this matter and its failure over the past three or so years to recruit a substantive Registrar of Lands is astonishing. This is one of the most important positions in the civil service,” he noted, as he suggests, “HR was compelled to return Mr. Gerald to the Land Registry in a purely advisory capacity. This is a recognition that his expertise and guidance are needed. It would seem logical to re-appoint him as acting Registrar of Lands so that the Land Registry can function normally again.”

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Calls Human Resource handling of matter, incompetent –

Jean-Kelsick-at-church-service-Law-Year-opening

Attorney-at-Law Jean Kelsick

Attorney-at-Law, Jean Kelsick was the most recent attorney to call on Government to take action to provide long overdue adequate court accommodations, at the opening of the New Law Year, while speaking on behalf of the local bar association. He told the court, with newly appointed judge, Justice Anthony Astaphan presiding in Montserrat, following the address of the acting Chief Justice, the Hon. Honourable Justice Janice Pereira.

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“Montserrat is a mouse that is sometimes capable of roaring,” he said in his introduction.

He said: “I will start my lord with the lack of a proper court house and facilities for the registry including proper facilities for the storage of registry documents. Both of these issues remain an open sore I regret to say. It is one that is raised annually by us at the private bar.”

“…about five years ago my lord I remember that we wrote to the then Governor, pointing out to her the registry documents were either being lost or contaminated by water and of the pressing need to address this issue by providing the registry safe and secure storage facilities. Not only are persons alive being affective by this adversity but there is a historical importance of legal documents…” as he added, “I think my lord most of us would agree that the structure in which we currently stand and sit, is an uncomfortable embarrassment to Montserrat.”

Earlier this week the Attorney Kelsick revealed a letter he wrote to the Deputy Governor (DG), copied to members of cabinet, including H E Governor Avis, Honourable  Premier, Attorney General, Minister of MAHLE, and all the Bank Managers. In the letter he reminded the DG of their conversation of:  “the fact that there is currently no Registrar of Lands, as a result of which no documents have been processed by the Land Registry for the past 3 weeks.”

The letter observed that David Gerald acted as Registrar of Lands for an extended period until he was informed a few months ago without notice that his contract would not be renewed.Courthouse-inside-(4)

However, according to the Business of Cabinet report for quarter July – September 2012, released on December 6, 2012, “Mr. Gerald was appointed from the 21st July, 2012 until end of contract or until a substantive post holder can be appointed.”

Kelsick in his letter stated that Mr. David Gerald acted as Registrar of Lands for an extended period until he was informed a few months ago, without notice, that his contract would not be renewed.

Mr. Kelsick continued in his letter, “Remarkably, Government’s Human Resources Department (HR) had made no proper arrangements for a replacement.”

“Not only is this oversight causing the general public serious inconvenience,” he said, “…it has the potential to give rise to grave injustice. …it is exposing Government to civil liability.”

He cites as reasons, “…There is no Registrar to enable the lodgment of cautions to prevent the fraudulent transfer of land. It is usually necessary to lodge cautions at very short notice. This means that because of Government’s neglect persons run the risk of being defrauded of their land.

And, “Charges to secure bank loans are not being registered. This means that banks are unprotected and therefore exposed to serious risk.”

In a ZJB newscast, The Hon. Eastern Taylor-Farrell, Minister of Agriculture, Land, Housing and the Environment (MAHLE) responded confirming Gerald’s part time activity. He reportedly said Mr. David Gerald had been working along with the ministry on a temporary basis since last December providing continuity in the land registry department, that he will continue to serve in this capacity until the position is filled.

Kelsick considers as dishonest, the comment of the Hon. Taylor-Farrell, to his current complaint regarding the lack of a Registrar which falls under his ministry. He says that Mr. Gerald merely serves a few days a week in an advisory capacity, while the Minister says hopefully by the end of this week they will have a better idea as to how the substantive position will be filled.

The attorney who joined and on behalf of his senior and other attorneys on island, charged the government of its, “statutory obligation to staff the Land Registry with a Registrar of Lands at all times,” warning further, “Any failure on its part to do so renders Government liable to compensate members of the public for any loss they may sustain because of its neglect.”

His letter concluded, “There will be no hesitation on my part in advising my clients to sue Government if they suffer any loss because of Government’s dereliction of its statutory duty,” while at the same time, accusing the HR department headed by a recently appointed Deputy Governor, of incompetence.

“HR’s incompetent handling of this matter and its failure over the past three or so years to recruit a substantive Registrar of Lands is astonishing. This is one of the most important positions in the civil service,” he noted, as he suggests, “HR was compelled to return Mr. Gerald to the Land Registry in a purely advisory capacity. This is a recognition that his expertise and guidance are needed. It would seem logical to re-appoint him as acting Registrar of Lands so that the Land Registry can function normally again.”