…..several families on the breadline
….. NICIL says “owner” has no legal grounds to evict
Popular restaurant and bar that operates at Five Corner, Tropical Reflection is now in jeopardy after Court bailiffs and the police turned up on Wednesday to evict owner Hilton Lyle Jr from the premises. In fact, the bailiffs said they cannot move until Lyle Jr removes his belongings from the property as was stipulated by a court order.
The order was passed down by the Upper Demerara Magisterial District which gave Bridgette Maximus the right as ‘owner’ of Stall #0730 located at the Washerpond Road, Mackenzie, Linden, to evict Hilton Lyle, as a defaulting tenant. According to the information received, the court ruling followed years of court fighting which also included an appeal at the level of the High Court. However, in a turn of events, the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), communicated via correspondence to Maximus that the governmental organization is the rightful custodian of the property and no permission was ever given to operate or rent to a third party. The correspondence dated March 20th 2023, stated, “NICIL’s record reveal that NICIL has not executed a lease or any other document with Ms. Maximus to empower her to demand rent from anyone occupying property owned by NICIL. In light of the foregoing, NICIL hereby demands that your principle immediately cease and desist from such behavior and misrepresenting that she is authorized and has legal capacity to demand rent due and owing for the abovecaptioned property.”
In this regard on Wednesday, NICIL placed a signage at the property stating, “Property of NICIL, NO TRESPASSING, VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” The correspondence was sent to Fern Jones, who is the duly committed attorney of Bridgette Maximus, however Jones said she never received same. When asked what documentation as proof of ownership of the property was used in the court, Jones said she is not at liberty to share that information with the media. She said her family occupied the commercial space for over 30 years and rented it to Lyle for $40,000. She said rental was paid to the Linden Mayor and Town Council. According to the rental agreement, Lyle was not given any permission to expand. He was given permission to upgrade a stall that was on the land. However, Jones said after seeing continuous expansion works, said she approached the tenant to cease but he continued to expand.
In 2017 however, Jones wrote Lyle explaining to him that rental to LMTC was increased because of the expansion he was doing and he will be required to pay an increase in his rental. Jones said they then approached the court to intervene in the matter and won the case. She also alleged that Lyle owes nine months of rent.
Lyle in an invited comment said he never saw any documentation of ownership of the land from Jones and spent a significant amount of money developing the land into a high standard restaurant and bar. He also employs many Lindeners who will be on the breadline. He said when he rented the space, there was an old shop that measured 10ft by 18 ft and everything else on the land belongs to him. This was denied by Jones.
NICIL’s Linden representative Emmet Alves, did not comment on the matter.