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CCJ upholds squatter’s rights in Dominica land dispute



The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has quashed the decision of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to give way to the rights of a person who had occupied a piece of land for more than 12 years.

The judgment was handed down today Thursday.

This Appellate Jurisdiction matter involved a dispute, between David George and Albert Guye, over a strip of land in Dominica.

The appellant, George, was the occupier of the strip of land for over 12 years.

However, that strip formed part of a larger parcel of land of which the respondent, Guye, became the registered owner in 1995.

Although Guye was issued a certificate of title under the Title by Registration Act (TRA) in 1995, it was not until 2007 that he filed a claim to regain possession of the disputed strip of land.

George argued that his long and continuous possession of the strip had extinguished Guye’s title.

Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal disagreed with Mr. George and held that under the TRA, Guye’s registered title could not be challenged unless Mr. George had complied with the procedural steps outlined in section 33 of the TRA.

The lower courts held that Mr. George, having not triggered Section 33, could not now succeed against the claim of Guye.

The CCJ, by a majority judgment delivered by the Court President, Justice Adrian Saunders, disagreed with the lower courts and allowed George’s appeal.

The majority noted that indefeasibility of a Certificate of Title in Dominica was not absolute and that the TRA expressly provided for two exceptions to such indefeasibility; the one relevant to this appeal being where the title of the registered proprietor had been superseded by a title acquired under the RPLA.

The majority stated that the RPLA conferred certain “squatter’s rights” on someone who has been in occupation of land for over 12 years.

The majority took the view that the law barred even a registered landowner who allowed someone to squat on his land for a continuous period in excess of 12 years, from bringing an action in court to recover the land from the squatter.

The majority was also of the view that this interpretation of the law was in line with cases coming out of Dominica over many years.

Accordingly, the majority held that George was entitled to successfully defend the claim for possession brought by Mr Guye.

Justices Anderson and Burgess, however, in minority opinions, noted that the critical issue was to determine the circumstances in which the title of the registered owner can be superseded.

Justice Anderson expressed that the introduction of the TRA was to provide stability and security of title and overrode the earlier “squatter’s rights” legislation where there is a conflict between the two.

It was for this reason that the certificate of title could not be challenged and anyone seeking to use their long-standing possession as a defense had to first comply with the procedure laid down in section 33.

Justice Burgess based on a strict interpretation of the RPLA and the TRA reached a similar conclusion.

The CCJ, by a majority, allowed Mr. George’s appeal.

The full judgment of the Court and a judgment summary are available on the Court’s website at

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Skerrit calls for plans to increase Dominica’s visitor arrivals during carnival




Visitors in Roseau on Carnival Tuesday

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has called for plans to be put in place to increase the number of visitors to Dominica’s shores during the Carnival celebrations.

The prime minister said, in a post-carnival statement,  that the Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives needs to hold a consultation on Carnival during March/April in order to bring all the band organizers, artistes, representatives, patrons and private sector together to have a very transparent and open discussion on Carnival, “where do we think Carnival should be taken and how do we position ourselves so that we can attract more visitors in our country?”

Skerrit contends that while Carnival is a time to celebrate, “we also have to understand that this is an export commodity.”

“We need to ensure that we continue to attract even increasing numbers of people coming for our Carnival celebrations,” he said. “I have been saying to the Ministry of Tourism for many years now, for the last 10 to 12 years, we always had a ship in town on Tuesday and on Carnival Tuesday we had more than one.”

He believes that his government needs to find a way of getting the cruise passengers to be part of the celebrations.

“Can we not sell a package to the cruise lines so that patrons, visitors, cruise tourists can have their own band or be part of a band?” the prime minister asked.

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Suspected cases of coronavirus in Guadeloupe and British Virgin Islands




La1ere in Guadeloupe have been reporting that a family of 3 are under observation after one family member stayed in an area infected with the coronavirus.

The family is asymptomatic (exhibiting no symptoms) but have been put under observation by health officials to assuage any concerns about virus infection.

This suspected case comes on the heels of a dramatic increase in confirmed cases in France.

The number of french cases doubled on Thursday (27th February) where the number jumped from 18 to 38 from the previous day.

This sudden increase has sparked greater attention from both the general public and officials in France and french territories.

Meanwhile, various media had reported that there is a suspected case of the coronavirus within the British Virgin Islands.

The media outlets had earlier claimed that certain “high-placed” sources have confirmed the suspected case.

BVI officials publicly stated there there were no confirmed cases in response to the rumours.

The premier of the BVI Andrew Fahie later that same day (Thursday 27th February) at an impromptu press conference publicly stated:

“We have a case in terms of a person who had entered the BVI that was coming from away [and who] showed some symptoms that created concerns. And since then, the person has been tested and quarantined,”.

Fahie explained that initial testing was done and the person placed at their home for observation, further samples were taken and sent to Trinidad for testing.

Read more on Guadeloupe case

Read BVI news report

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Man critically injured in motorcycle accident at Massacre




The motorcycle involved in the accident

One man is said to be in critical condition at the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital following an accident which occurred in Massacre on Thursday night.

The accident involved a Yamaha MT motor cycle owned and ridden by 28 year old Julian Burton of Mahaut and a Honda Civic owned and driven by 26 year old Jahnaya Henry of Campeche, Grand Bay.

Henry who was driving in a southerly direction upon reaching opposite Debras Bar suddenly turned right into the path of the motor cycle which was being ridden in a northerly direction resulting in a collision.

Burton was thrown some 55 feet unto a parapet on the western side of the road.

He received injuries to his neck, both arms and back and was transported to the D.C.F hospital.

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