November 29, 2021

TCI CJ Ramsey Hale: $1.5m Clyde Robinson ‘land flipping’ case reopened

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MRHaleBy John Toner From Turks and Caicos Weekly News

The controversial “land flipping” case involving former Director of Planning Clyde Robinson has been sent for review.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Chief Justice Ramsey Hale did not apply the “proper test” when she decided Robinson had acted properly in the acquisition of land in Long Bay.

A panel of three QCs ruled that Judge Hale “should have concluded that it would be unconscionable for Robinson to retain receipt of the land” after a private valuation revealed the land may be worth more than what he paid the TCIG.

The appeal court decided that the private valuation of the land he received three weeks after the CPL had been granted ought to have alerted him to further inquiry as to its true value.

The judgement reads: “While he stated that he was pleasantly surprised, a valuation five times greater than that placed on it by the Government ought to have alerted him or caused him to be concerned that there was a possibility of impropriety.

“There was no evidence that before the land was actually conveyed to him that he took any step to bring the valuation he obtained from the Construction Advisory Services Ltd to the attention of the appropriate officer of the Government.

“He appeared to have turned a blind eye to the question of any possible impropriety.”

In her original judgement Ramsey Hale found that the Crown did not prove its case against Robinson.

However she found that former Minister of Natural Resources, McAllister Hanchell, in directing an out-of-date valuation, breached his fiduciary duties to the Crown.

She decided that there was nothing about the price for which Robinson was offered the land that should have alerted him that its valuation was wrong, or that the minister had breached his fiduciary duty and directed the use of an out of date valuation.

This was despite the fact that he accepted the offer from the Government and later discovered from a private valuation that the land was potentially worth more.

On the claim that he breached his fiduciary duty to the Crown in his position as Director of Planning the judge was not persuaded that Robinson owed the Crown any relevant fiduciary duty.

Ramsay-Hale said Robinson was not required to pursue his employer’s interests at the expense of his own and disclose that he had received a greater valuation for the land than what was offered to him.

However, following this decision from the court of appeal Judge Hale is to be forced to review her original decisions.

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EDITOR: Turks and Caicos’ Chief Justice Ramsey Hale was formerly the Chief Magistrate of the Summary Court of the Cayman Islands.


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