THA Senior State Counsel Alvin Pascall has said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was being disingenuous when she read aspects of the “office lease” for the MILSHIRV office complex at a public meeting last Saturday night in Scarborough.
He made it clear that the complete Deed of Lease dated November 21 2012 for the 12-acre property including the building was prepared and registered by the reputable firm of Port of Spain attorneys, Fitzwilliam, Stone, Furness Smith & Morgan. He claimed that the “learned Prime Minister had Annex ‘B’ in her possession which she stated came to her post box” and was supposed to be an unexecuted copy or a copy signed by the Chief Administrator of the THA which would have formed part of the registered lease.
Pascall, a practising attorney for 22 years said the document has been in the public domain for a long time adding: “What is unfortunate in this matter is that the learned Prime Minister who is also a Senior Counsel committed a cardinal sin by extracting from the Deed of Lease a single clause and read it to the world, knowing very well that such documents should be construed as a whole.”
He said it was true that clause 3 sub clause (u) at page 7 of the Office Lease referred to as Annex ‘B’ quoted by the Prime Minister meant that upon completion of 20 years the property will revert back to the owner, “but a more experienced attorney will know that the clause is a standard clause in all leases because a lease is for a fixed term which inevitably comes to an end”.
Pascall added: “The wiser attorney will read further into the lease document and look for a clause referred to as an option to renew. That is a further agreement between the parties which gives the person in occupation the right to call on his landlord for a further lease period or that a wise attorney will read further into the lease document and look for a clause referred to as an option to purchase.”
He stressed: “The MILSHIRV arrangement has an option to purchase at clause 5 sub clause (b) on page 8 of the office lease, which in fact renders clause 3 sub clause (u) nugatory.”
He said the learned Prime Minister by plucking out clause 3sub clause (u) at page 7 and highlighting it to the population without bringing clause 5 sub clause (b) to the population would not have given the population the full story.
Pascall said the Prime Minister was also wrong when she said even if the building was returned to the THA at the end of 20years as stated in the office lease the land will remain with the developer because it was leased to it for 199 years.
He added: “The learned Prime Minister is a senior counsel, she knows the concept called the freehold reversion, so that when the developer after the expiration of 20 years and all lease rents paid up will transfer the property back to the THA whereby the unexpired term of the lease being 179 years will die and is subsumed in the THA’s freehold reversion.”
He further explained that if and when at the expiry of the three-year period the THA exercised its option to buy, the parties or the owner of the 199 years as reduced by three-year periods will execute a deed of surrender whereby the unexpired residue will die and would be subsumed into the THA freehold title.