The High Court has granted an injunction against Region Five Executive Officer, (REO) Ovid Morrison, in a case filed by a group of cash crops farmers.
Three cash crop farmers had taken the REO to Court over the alleged illegal occupation of their lands.
The farmers, Krishna Sewall, Kristopher Sewnarin and Kaleel Jameer, of West Coast Berbice,(WCB) have filed an injunction in the High Court to bar Morrison’s occupation of lease land located at Lot Tract ‘X’ of Block ‘1A’ and Tract ‘Y’, portion of Plantation Naarstighed and Bath villages, WCB.
Additionally, the farmers are claiming in excess of $10M in damages to crops and properties located on the land they dwelled on for some 16 years. The application for the injunction was heard by Justice Navindra Singh at the Georgetown High Court yesterday.
After reading the application the Court ordered the injunction restraining Morrison, his servants, representatives, officers and or agents collectively and individually and each and every one of them restraining whomsoever and however 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 lands. A date is yet to be fixed for the hearing of the case.
In affidavit drafted by lawyers attached to the law Office of Anil Nandlall, the applicants (farmers) noted the lands were cultivated on a lease and with the permission of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Five.
However in October 2016, Morrison requested that the group of approximately 50 farmers vacate their farmland at Naarstigheid, West Coast Berbice.
The REO reportedly threatened to bulldoze the crops and forcibly eject the farmers from the said lands.
In response to the REO’s threats, the farmers instructed their lawyer to write a letter to Morrison asking him to discontinue and cease all acts of trespass.
However, Morrison continued to threaten to bulldoze and clear the lands allocated to the farmers of Naarstigheid. As such, the applicants (farmers) made several oral complaints to the RDC.
However some time in April 2018, the farmers claimed that Morrison and his agents wrongfully and unilaterally decided to enter upon the said land and cut down or caused to be cut down and removed cash crops and cleared a portion of the land with a bulldozer thereby damaging certain cash crops including sweet peppers, lettuce, eschalot, plantain, banana and calaloo.
As a result the farmers are said to have suffered grave losses. On August 6, 2018, the applicants claimed that Morrison and his agents further entered upon the said land with two excavators and flattened another portion of the said land, continuing to cause damage valuable cash crops.
They also destroyed two farmhouses, made out of wood, which are collectively valued at $1 million.
The farmers claimed that despite warnings, Morrison wrongfully continue to bulldoze and flatten the land, damaging valuable crops and depriving the applicants of their property, livelihood and only source of income.
In the court document, the farmers accused Morrison and his agents of unilaterally, wrongfully, illegally, without notice or without permission from the RDC entering the premises and cutting down and removing, certain cash crops including sweet pepper, lettuce, eschalot, plantain, banana and calaloo from the lands.
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