Port of Spain, Trinidad. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today dismissed a postjudgment
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.