The Guyana Baseball League (GBL) has instituted legal proceedings against the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) and the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL), for the companies to honour a contractual obligation with respect to the sale of several plots of land for the development of its sporting facilities.
The matter comes up for hearing on Thursday, July 31, before Justice Jo Ann Barlow at the High Court in Demerara.
In court documents seen by Kaieteur News, GBL said that it entered into a binding contract between GUYSUCO for the sale and purchase of 20.9 acres of land described as ‘Plot A’ Plantation Ogle and Plot ‘B’ Plantation Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara.
According to GBL, it initially proposed for a plot of land measuring 200 meters by 200 meters. This request, it said, developed following more mature consideration, to an application for a multi-sport facility and multi-use complex of approximately 100 acres, and that a business plan to this effect was submitted in October 2013 to GUYSUCO and the Guyana Office for Investment.
“The negotiations were protracted and progressed over a period of years during which many proposals, counter-proposals, surveys, inspections and negotiations were had between the claimant (GBL) and the first named defendant (GUYSUCO),”GBL said in its legal filings.
The Guyana Baseball League said, too, that the Guyana Office for Investment supported its proposed multi-sport multi-use facility and communicated this approval to GUYSUCO by letter dated December 17, 2017.
According to GBL, in April 2015 GUYSUCO communicated via email that it was offering a plot of land on the East Coast of Demerara for sale at a cost of US$30,000 per acre. GBL said that it countered by letter dated April 10, 2015 seeking a “lease-to-purchase” agreement instead, with different payment terms than proposed.
GUYSUCO, it said, rejected this counter and insisted on its offer of sale only of the identified land at US$30,000 per acre.
In the court documents, GBL added that it continued negotiations with GUYSUCO in relation to different areas but always sought a lease-to-buy style agreement. It said it was again offered the plots of land at Ogle and Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara at a purchase price of $25,000,000 in 2017, and again countered by letter dated February 27, 2017, in which it explained in detail its preference for a lease-to-buy arrangement.
GBL states that GUYSUCO countered by affirming its earlier proposal of selling the said plots of land at $25M per acre, a figure which was arrived at following independent valuations and assessment after which a market value was determined.
According to GBL, it accepted the offer letter in or around May 2015 and sought time from GUYSUCO to obtain the necessary finances for the purchase, and was permitted same.
Further, GBL submits that by letter dated May 10, 2019, it informed GUYSUCO that it had secured the financing and was in a position to fulfil its obligations. GBL said that it is seeking the land to develop its sporting facilities, and that on June 5, 2019 it was issued with a cease and desist letter by NICIL which requested that GUYSUCO cease and desist from entering into any attempt to sell lands, among other things, to GBL.
According to GBL, it commenced negotiations in February 2013 with GUYSUCO for the sale and purchase of the lands for the aforesaid purpose. GBL added that it informed NICIL of the details of its arrangements and sought to have the land sale completed. In this regard, GBL contends that it had a binding agreement before GUYSUCO’s transfer of property order, hereby referred to as the “Vesting Order”, was enacted and came into force.
“The Vesting Order purports to extinguish rights acquired and held prior to it coming into being thereby affecting and extinguishing third party rights; making it unreasonable, unlawful and an improper exercise of ministerial discretion.”
GBL contends that the Vesting Order was made failing to consider relevant considerations, and as such is contrary to the principles of natural justice. GBL said that it has learnt that NICIL is entering into all manner of agreements for the sale of the said property and has informed them that the said plots of land are at present “unavailable” being earmarked for sale to another entity.
In all the circumstances, the Guyana Baseball League, among other things, is asking the court to grant an injunction restraining GUYSUCO and NICIL, their servants and or their agents from entering into any contract for sale and purchase, selling, disposing, entering into any negotiations for the sale or otherwise alienating or engaging in any act for the disposal of or in preparation of disposing the aforesaid 20.9 acres of land to any party other that the GBL without written consent of the GBL or further order of the court.
Moreover, the GBL is asking the court to grant several declarations one being that there exist a binding contract between it and GUYSUCO for the sale and purchase of the said lands.
It also is seeking a declaration that GUYSUCO Transfer of Property Order 2017 is unlawful, illegal, ultra vires, made in breach of the rules of natural justice, null, void and of no effect. Having regard to the situation, the GLB contends that damages would not be an adequate remedy, since it is entitled to intellectual rights relating to baseball in Guyana and through it’s principal shareholder has in excess of $40M available to it for the development of the land in question.
The Guyana Baseball League is being represented by Attorneys-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin, Anessa Chow and Donavon Rangiah, and has its office at Lot 78 Hadfield and Breda Streets, Georgetown.
Its President is Robin Singh.
Based on reports, the Guyana Baseball League was officially launched in September 2012 at an 11 acre ground at Area ‘A’ Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, which was leased for five years.
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