A near 20-year-old court battle between Government and Parsons’ Pest Control over the acquisition of land was brought to the verge of conclusion Friday when the High Court ordered the Freundel Stuart administration to pay over $80,000 in damages.
The issue dates back to 1998 when Government compulsorily acquired 4,298.35 square metres of privately-owned land at Foster Lodge, St George for housing development.
Parsons’ Pest Control successfully challenged the administration and a series of applications over the years ended in the Number 5 Supreme Court Friday with Madame Justice Jacqueline Cornelius ordering the State to pay $41,032.05 in damages for failed acquisition and $43,784.44 in disturbance costs for dispossessing the landowner of his property.
This figure does not include interest, which is still to be assessed or agreed.
Deputy Solicitor General Donna Brathwaite applied for a stay of payment, which is traditionally a period of five to six weeks allowed for appeal.
After the State had begun a battle to acquire a strip of land along the front of the landscaped grounds in St George, spanning both sides of the access road to the business, Parsons’ Pest Control wrote the Permanent Secretary in the Division of Housing on June 30, 1998 refusing consent on the grounds that the land was not designated in any approved development plan or proposal for such purposes.
On December 17, 1998 Government officially acquired the property, but on March 28, 2001, the applicant successfully sued the State with the High Court quashing the acquisition.
The company brought a successful action for judicial review in 1999 and named the Chief Town Planner as the first respondent, the Chief Surveyor as the second, the Attorney General as the third, the Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Town Planning as the fourth and the Minister of Housing and Lands, the fifth.