Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 25th 2016 Contents ANALA MOHAN
Student, Hugh Wooding Law School
Under section 4(a) of the Constitution of
T&T, each citizen has the right to the enjoyment
of property and the right not to be deprived of
this right except by due process of law. Citizens
therefore have the right to legally own property
or have title to land.
To prove ownership of, or title to land, a person
must show evidence of ownership. The doc-
ument required to evidence ownership will be
dependent on which system the land falls under
since there are two systems of land title in
The common law system or the old English
law system of title is governed by the
Conveyancing and Law of Property Act
Chap. 56:01. The newer system of reg-
istration of titles is governed by the Real
Property Act Chap. 56:02, commonly
called the "RPA system."
The common law system
Under this system a landowner proves title
or ownership of land by a Deed of Conveyance.
The deed of conveyance must be traced back
at least 20 years to be deemed a "good title"
for the purpose of sale.
Title is not registered under the "old law sys-
tem" but the deed itself is registered by depositing
in the Land Registry. This makes it possible to
trace the registered deed to the owner. This can
be a lengthy and sometimes complicated process.
Further, only registered legal interests are dis-
covered, while any existing unregistered interests
would go untraced. For instance, where the land
is subject to a trust or if there is an existing agree-
ment for sale of the land, these interests would
not be discovered by a title search.
The registration of titles system
The RPA system is modelled after the Australian
Torrens System and was introduced in T&T to
ease the problems of the old law system. Under
this system the owner of property is required to
lodge all his land title documents in the Land
Registry. The owner proves ownership by pro-
ducing a Certificate of Title.
Under this system, it is easier to determine if
title is valid since it would have been thoroughly
investigated and approved by the Land Registry
officials before it was registered. Therefore the
process of investigating title is significantly short-
Although only title can be fully entered on the
register, non-legal interests are protected by the
lodging of a caveat which is endorsed on the
certificate of title. The caveat acts as a
warning or caution to people dealing with
the particular landowner. The system is
therefore more accurate in revealing all the
interests existing over the land.
It is important that landowners become aware
of the nature of their title. While there are a
number of advantages to the RPA system, most
land owned in T&T is still under the
common law system. However,
landowners who so desire can have their
lands brought under the RPA system.
This column is not legal advice. If
you have a legal problem, you should
consult a legal adviser.
Existing tender rules will apply to incoming
infrastructural projects until the new procure-
ment regime - now being examined by a Par-
liament committee - is in effect, Finance Min-
ister Colm Imbert has indicated.
Imbert did so via an emailed response on
how government will be dealing with several
major infrastructure projects, including new
highways, which are set to be rolled
Asked if there are sufficient safe-
guards to prevent nepotism and cor-
ruption including beyond the legisla-
tion, Imbert said, "The new
procurement regime has been the sub-
ject of a Joint Select Committee of Par-
liament, which has reported. The rec-
ommended amendments to the
legislation arising from the JSC report
will be debated shortly. Existing tender
rules will apply until the new regime is
Procurement legislation was initially presented
in the past People s Partnership administration s
term and passed. The new PNM administration
placed it before a Parliament Joint Select Com-
mittee for review. The JSC s report is on the Par-
liament agenda for discussion.
JSC member Dr Bhoe Tewarie in recent debates
where government borrowing and infrastructure
has arisen, has expressed concern that the leg-
islation should be in force before Parliament s
current segment ends in a few months, or even
before the annual recess (from July) begins.
On how and where funding for the projects
will come from in the tough economic times,
Imbert said, "Capital projects are traditionally
funded by a mix of current revenues, capital rev-
enues and loan financing. Larger projects are usu-
ally financed by loan financing through multilateral
agencies or by way of bond issues raised on the
"Each project is different and is treated on a
case-by-case basis. Our approach will be along
these lines," he said.
Congress of the People delegates will elect a
new party leader on July 9.
And the party s deputy political leader Dr
Anirudh Mahabir became interim leader until that
date, former leader Prakash Ramadhar confirmed
following COP s National Council meeting yes-
The meeting was held to put arrangements in
place for election of a new leader after Ramadhar
recently decided to step down as leader. Ramadhar
is the only COP MP in Opposition.
The Council was due to have been held last
Sunday, but was postponed to yesterday.
Ramadhar who attended the Council, said it
was decided that COP s Assembly elect a new
leader on July 9 and that delegates for the Assem-
bly will comprise members from constituencies.
So far several people including for-
mer party chairman Carolyn Seeper-
sad-Bachan, Opposition Senator and
former COP MP Rodger Samuel and
political veteran Gerry Yetming have
shown interest in contesting the lead-
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, April 25, 2016
COP appoints new
leader on July 9
Roll out of major projects
rules to apply
Ownership of Real
Property in T&T
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