Mr. S. P. Lightburn
20310 94 B. Ave.
Langley, British Columbia, V1M1YB
June 1, 2014
Mr. Eamon Courtenay, S. C.
President, Bar Association of Belize
P. O. Box 1764
212 North Front Street, Belize City
Seven years ago, on 24th March 2006, I, S. P. Lightburn, “purchaser,” received a receipt for the balance in full, from the “vendor,” Mr. Emory King, for a plot of land measuring 60 feet by 120 feet, situate at Mile 14, namely, Tropical Park, on the Western Highway. The plot of land was the freehold property of Mr. Emory King who was the person legally entitled to sell this property.
At the time of the transaction, I was aware that a lawyer, a friend of mine, had also purchased two lots, from the same vendor, at around the same time that I had bought mine, and had received her land title documents from the same law firm that was processing my land title documents.
Mr. Emory King assured me that I would be in possession of my land title document, after his lawyer had sorted out the legal technicalities involved in a land transfer. He assured me that there was no need to hire my own lawyer to register the land title documents at the Lands Department, because his lawyer would ensure my legal position and rights as the owner of the land I had purchased. He assured me that the legal cost of the transfer was included in the purchase cost.
Seven years later, I am still in a quagmire as regards my land title papers. The lawyer friend of mine had her land title paper within less than two months of the purchase. Since then, I have had two attorneys write to the law firm in an effort to speed up the process. Up to the current date, I have had no favorable response indicating that my land title documents are being processed.
Needless to say, after seven years of hopelessness in the face of an obvious attempt at the swindling of my property, I am forced to advise Belizeans to trust no seller or agent no matter what they say until you have gotten your documents signed, sealed and delivered.
It is my ordinary opinion that the seven years procrastination in sorting out the technical legalities of a small lot, paid for in full and in cash, violates my constitutional rights and shows up the incompetency of the legal system. It undermines public confidence in the administration of justice.
Some lawyers purposefully create obstacles to the smooth functioning of the life of ordinary people. It is my observation that lawyers profit from creating confusion, widening the gap between legal technicalities with its mumbo-jumbo language ordinary people don’t understand, and the attainment of justice. They have inserted themselves into all aspects of life, dominating politics, government bureaucracy, business and even our private lives.
I am forced to call out the Bar Association of Belize to put its house in order. Lawyers must realize that they have an obligation to the ordinary citizen since lawyers lay down the rules under which we live. The average citizen cannot afford and does not want to play the lawyers’ game which is empty and devoid of meaning. In other words, we call on the lawyers to do their duty, do what supposedly they were trained to do, help the ordinary man like myself to obtain justice, a simple land title document that I paid for with the fruit of my labor.
I am appalled at the total lack of professionalism from, allegedly, one of Belize’s oldest and foremost law firms. I feel totally disrespected and humbly submit that immediate processing and delivery of my land title documents is only fair and just, after seven years of an unnerving experience. Failing this, then my last resort is to seek further legal advice and the intervention of the courts, for compensation from the law firm and the estate of Mr. Emory King.
S. P. Lightburn
cc: Editor Amandala, Belize City