PRESS RELEASE: Port of Spain, Trinidad. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today dismissed a post- judgment application, brought by Mr. Deonarine Natram, to reopen the court’s recent decision in Narine v Natram. In the previous judgment, dated 10th May 2018, the CCJ had settled a dispute
over land in Guyana between two brothers, Mr. Kowsal Narine and Mr. Natram. The CCJ declared that Mr. Narine had been in possession of the disputed property since 1991 and that any right Mr. Natram had to the land had been ended.
In June 2018, Mr. Natram asked that the judgment be reviewed, or the appeal reheard on the basis that the Court’s judgment was in error. The application stated that, based on section 22 of the Title of Land (Prescription and Land) Act, his brother, Mr Narine, could not have been in possession for the statutorily required period of twelve years. He stated that the counterclaim he filed in 2003 would have stopped time from running in his brother’s favour. He added that the Court could hear his application as the order had not been issued due to an outstanding issue on costs.
The Court decided to hear the unusual application since the final order had not been issued, relying on its recent decision in The Queen v Gilbert Henry, where it stated that when an order has not been finalized, a court may review its decision in exceptional circumstances. Both parties were then asked to make written submissions.
Upon review of the submissions, the Court found that the issues raised in Mr. Natram’s complaint did not merit reopening the appeal. The CCJ accepted that while there was a counterclaim for damages. There was, as pointed out at the hearing by Mr Narine’s attorneys and accepted by Mr Natram’s attorneys, no specific claim for possession of the land. If there had been then section 22 would be applicable. There was therefore no basis to sustain an allegation that there were exceptional circumstances here to warrant the reopening of the appeal. The application was dismissed and costs were awarded to Mr. Narine, the appellant in the substantive case.
The full judgment of the Court is available on the Court’s website at www.ccj.org.