CCJ orders Guyana Court of Appeal to urgently hear delayed case

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The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ordered the Guyana Court of Appeal to hear an appeal by a Guyanese rice company that has been delayed for five years.

The CCJ Thursday refused to grant special leave, or permission to appeal, to Blairmont Rice Investment Inc. in respect of its case Blairmont Rice Investment Inc. v Kayman Sankar Company Ltd, Kayman Sankar Investment Ltd and Beni Sankar.

 However, in refusing the application for special leave, the CCJ ordered that the hearing to determine Blairmont’s substantive appeal was deemed fit for urgent hearing by Guyana’s Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal has been ordered to notify the CCJ of the hearing date December 21, 2017.

 The original case had been heard by the High Court of Guyana in 2011. Blairmont had entered into three agreements with the Sankars to buy land, equipment, and buildings in December 2006.

Blairmont made an initial payment towards the purchase and the remaining amount was agreed to be paid in portions at half-yearly intervals. There was a term in the agreements that the respondents had the right to repossess the properties if Blairmont failed to make the required payments.

When it failed to make those payments, the Sankars purported to terminate the agreements and filed a claim in the High Court of Guyana on April 4, 2011, in order to obtain a declaration that they had terminated the agreements and to recover possession of the properties.

In a motion filed in the Court of Appeal of Guyana on February 9, 2017, Blairmont alleged that it sought an order for the matter to be returned to the High Court of Guyana for retrial because the trial judge had failed to provide written reasons for his decisions before retiring from office.

In its application, the company alleged that the Court of Appeal of Guyana had refused its request and, instead, ordered that the Record of Appeal be settled and that the appeal should proceed. Consequently, Blairmont sought special leave to appeal to the CCJ.

Notwithstanding its refusal of special leave to appeal, the CCJ ordered that the substantive appeal should be urgently heard by the Guyana Court of Appeal.

“The CCJ rejected Blairmont’s application for special leave because they did not seek an order for retrial in the motion filed on 9 February 2017 but actually sought to progress Blairmont’s substantive appeal by having the Court of Appeal hear the appeal in the light of the availability of the pleadings, exhibits, affidavits, the trial judge’s notes of evidence and his detailed order, despite the absence of any written reasons for his decision,” the CCJ stated in a press release.

In making the above order, the CCJ expressed dissatisfaction with the length of time that has elapsed without the appeal having been heard, as Blairmont filed its Notice of Appeal on 17 April 2012 which has not been heard to date, five years later.

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