A British couple who hired a local lawyer to register a piece of property which they bought in Monier, Gros Islet in 2006 are crying foul more than a decade later, as the land has still not been transferred to them.
A frustrated Donald and Pamela Nelson clams that they contracted the services of the lawyer to deal with the transfer and have long paid the attorney in full to put the land in Pamela’s name. She is of St. Lucian parentage.
For some time, the couple said they believed that the process was completed but realised the contrary when the former owner called claiming that the Inland Revenue Department was demanding from him thousands in property taxes. After inquiring, they found out that the land was never registered in Pamela’s name.
Since learning of this, the Nelsons have made several trips to the island to try to resolve the issue. They travelled here in 2015, 2016 and twice in the last year. They gave HTS News4orce an account of their story.
According to Donald, the lawyer in question has admitted that he failed to come through with his end of their contract, though he was paid to do so.
“…He agreed and admitted that he should have registered the property in Pamela’s name but he had not done so. He also agreed and accepted that he had been paid in full for doing this work; however, he would get unto it and get it done promptly. That unfortunately was an empty promise because the registration was not done,” the husband said.
Donald said that after their fruitless 2015 and 2016 visits to St. Lucia they decided to take the matter to the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Bar Association which contacted the local bar association asking that they deal with the matter urgently.
“… The bar association chair in St. Lucia then contacted us to say she will deal with it because it is a disciplinary matter and must be dealt with. However we lacked update and information from the chair. On pressing her, her response to us was, ‘I implore you, do be patient. Please be patient’,” Donald said.
“We were irritated at that response given that we’d waited virtually ten years for this process to take place,” he added.
According to the couple, they were advised that the lawyer in question is not a financial member of the local bar association and their best bet would be to take legal action against him. The Nelsons wish to sell the property and have already had several offers but they are unable to since the land is not registered to Pamela.
“Are we to believe that this behaviour is acceptable In St Lucia? We wonder how many other ordinary people who may not have a voice suffer at the hands of, I dare say, unscrupulous lawyers because that’s the behaviour that they exhibit. They take money, agree to do work, they enter into a contract but they don’t complete. And the client is then left at odds, often out of pocket … up to now, we are thousands of pounds out of pocket as a result of several visits to St. Lucia in order to get this sorted,” Donald said.