With the new administration coming in to Saint Lucia, there are literally decades of real estate fraud to correct, as the officials in the prior corrupt government, in association with subordinates working in real estate records, conspired to steal a massive amount of real estate from many property owners, some of whose families had owned their land for generations. This is a huge project to undertake.
We have previously* covered the types of fraud employed to cheat the true owners out of their land, and new readers are advised to review the articles listed below. Some were permanently residing abroad, others deceased with no immediate relatives. Still others were poor farmers and absentee landowners with no formal education. Most of them were cheated through forgeries of real estate surveys, records, deeds and wills, all of which resulted in the fraudsters taking title, which they thereafter sold to unsuspecting third parties.
While we do not know precisely how many local landowners were dispossessed of their properties, given the organised campaign to take lands, it could be in the hundreds. It will take a team of real estate solicitors, experienced in Caribbean title laws and procedures, together with forensic investigators, to determine which transfers were legitimate, which were effectuated through forgeries, plus local staff who ae familiar with family histories, and who can trace missing and deceased victims, for next of kin. Perhaps Commonwealth leaders can assemble and fund the necessary professionals.
This will be an enormous task, and will take several years to complete, if complete restoration of property to the true owners is the ultimate goal. We fear that the enormous nature of the project will result in government failing to discharge its responsibilities, and to pass on the obligation to its successors. Only time will tell if justice will be served, and the guilty convicted for their crimes.
*St Lucia Land Thieves Exploit Americans and Canadians, March 18, 2021.
The Peter Leroy John land fraud is Unraveling, March 28, 2021.
St. Lucia's Prime Minister's Criminal Conduct justifies his Removal and Arrest, March 21, 2021
Peter Leroy John, Saint Lucia's Fraudster Extraordinaire, March 26, 2021.
Government of St. Lucia censors News from the United States, and threatens US Search Engine, April 15, 2021.