PHILIPSBURG–The Joint Court of Justice has ordered Leonel Gaston Halley, proprietor of Lee’s Roadside Grill and Bar, to vacate the piece of land and adjacent water rights in Simpson Bay Lagoon no later than February 1, 2018.
The Appellate Court’s ruling of Friday, November 17, is the latest in a long series of legal proceedings between Halley and the owner of the long-lease rights on the property Water’s Edge Development (WED) Corporation NV.
The Court of Appeals upheld the initial verdict and ordered Lee’s to pay the legal cost.
In these proceedings Halley had filed for appeal against a ruling of the Court of First Instance, calling upon the Court to condemn Water’s Edge for acting in violation of long-lease conditions, as it had failed to start construction within six months’ time.
Halley also considered Water’s Edge had acted in violation of the Long Lease Ordinance as it had failed to obtain permission by the Minister to split the long-lease rights on three plots of land. As the lease agreement was not valid, Halley claimed US $5,352,758 in damages, with interest.
Halley had filed a request with the Executive Council to obtain the land in long lease in 1978, but the request has not been granted to date.
In November 1986, the Executive Council granted WED long lease to the piece of land of 1,050 square metres, mentioned in letter of admeasurements 223/1978, on which three restaurants were built.
On this plot Halley exploits his water tourism company Deep Sea Fishing. In 1997, he built a restaurant, behind which fishing boats and charters can be moored on a jetty built by Halley.
After WED had ordered Halley to vacate the premises in 1996, parties engaged in a long-term rental agreement for the mid-section of the plot which was awarded to WED against payment of NAf. 500 per month.
The section to the west of the restaurant was rented out by WED to Halsey’s restaurant and the east section to Harbour Queen restaurant. The restaurants were located next to each other and were party built in the lagoon.
WED, Halley and Government engaged in discussions concerning the transfer of long-lease rights to Halley for the area on which Lee’s is located by means of a land exchange in which WED would be compensated with a comparable plot of 2,000 square metres at a different location. These discussions remained without result.
Since July 2010, WED is in the possession of a permit for a marina building to be constructed. The company also wants to construct docking facilities in the lagoon.
It formally requested the grant of long-lease of the water area directly in front of the property with the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI in January 2011.