Gov't ordered to pay $330M for Toolsie Persaud Water St Lot
Stabroek News
July 17, 2004

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Toolsie Persaud Ltd (TPL) was last Wednesday awarded judgement in its favour when the Court of Appeal ruled that government should pay compensation in the sum of $330M for the compulsory acquisition of the company's Water Street property.

Justice BS Roy, had on July 25, 2003, ruled that the compulsory acquisition of TPL's land by the government was in accordance with the law and further, that compensation be based on the evidence of the Chief Valuation Officer, Dennis Patterson. Justice Roy's ruling followed an application by TPL challenging the legality of the government's acquisition of the land and its valuation of the property. The judge had also fixed compensation at $262M at the time.

But TPL had appealed against Justice Roy's ruling through its attorneys Rex McKay SC and Edward Luckhoo SC, contending that the appeal was in relation to the assessment of the market value of the land.

In support of TPL's contentions, its attorneys had referred to the Acquisition of Land for Public Purposes Act and requirements that the appellant (TPL) was entitled to the market value of the land at the time of the compulsory acquisition.

TPL's lawyers had further contended that Patterson had submitted an inadequate analysis based on his valuation without taking into consideration the developments and existing advantages that enhanced the value of the property. Additionally, it had been submitted that Justice Roy had failed to properly analyse the evidence of the valuation provided by Mr Curtis and Mr Marshall on behalf of TPL, and did not provide adequate reasons for his ruling.

The judge, TPL's lawyers argued further, had acted incorrectly in relying on authorities from the Supreme Court of India, which dealt with circumstances where compensation was assessed by parliament, instead of by the Court.

The arguments offered by TPL's lawyers in support of the appeal found favour with Chancellor of the Judiciary, Desiree Bernard and Justices of Appeal Nandram Kissoon and Ian Chang, who set aside Justice Roy's decision by increasing the compensation from $262M to $330M with costs awarded to the appellant to be taxed certified fit for two senior counsel.

Attorney-General SC Doodnauth Singh and State Counsel Vijaya Jagnandan represented the government.

The government compulsorily acquired the lot to accommodate street vendors. It took this action after negotiations with TPL on the purchase of the land fell through.