One week after Statement of Claim proceedings were filed at the High Court, Justice Navindra Singh has granted three of 30 farmers in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) an injunction against the district’s Regional Executive Officer (REO) Ovid Morrison preventing the bulldozing of their farmlands.
The three claimants – Krishna Sewlall, Kristopher Sewnarine and Kaleel Jameer – are seeking over $10 million in damages for what they contend was the unlawful destruction of their property: cash crops and farm houses.
According to their lawyer, Anil Nandlall, Justice Singh’s injunction which was granted on Monday will remain in force for the duration of the court matter in which the farmers are seeking over $10 million in damages. The farmers are occupying land in Tract 3 ‘X’ of Block ‘1A’ and Tract ‘Y’ portions of Plantation Naarstigheid, part of Bath, West Coast Berbice (WCB).
The court’s order restrains Morrison, his servants, representatives, officers and or agents from continuing entering upon, remaining, occupying, farming, bulldozing or occupying in any manner whatsoever interfering with the applicants’ quiet and peaceful use, occupation and enjoyment of the portion of land.
Morrison was told that should he violate the Court’s order, he would be in contempt of court and may be liable to imprisonment or his assets could be confiscated. The Court will soon determine a date for the matter to be heard.
Court documents showed that many of the farmers have been occupying the land since 1989 and were granted a two-year lease for 1.4 acres in March 2000 under the Social Impact Amelioration Project (SIMAP) for large-scale farming. They had claimed that since the expiration of their lease they developed the said property, cured the soil and prepared it for farming.