Francis Hodge claims ownership of his great-grandmother’s land

POSTED: 09/17/11 3:21 PM

Cadastre unable to find evidence that supports request

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar –Francis Hodge has spent countless hours stretching back over more than twenty years, to obtain title to a piece of land in Cul-de-Sac his great-grandmother Rachel Hazel bought more than a hundred years ago. But the cadastre is unable to give him a letter of admeasurement, because there is no evidence in the land registry that supports his claim.

Hodge has been living in a small house on the land since 1989. It’s not that anybody wants to eject him, but he would like to have the matter settled for his heirs. Hodge submitted extensive documentation to this newspaper about his quest to get his way. “I was raised on that land, my ancestor who bought the land has a house there, my grandmother built a house as well and I am living on the property,” he says.

Hodge only has a bill of sale for land that was once owned by one L.L. Huntington, but this document does not contain any precise information about the property. Family members say that the strip of land runs from the L.B. Scott Road all the way to the top of the hill, flanked by the Abram Solomon and Lucius Hazel properties.

In 2002, Oswald Thompson and Myrtle Glovana Brooks-Dollison attempted to acquire ownership of the land. Hodge’s attorney Stefan Fox wrote a letter to the notary office of Speetjens to object, causing Thompson and Brooks to take no further action.

Hodge in the meantime paid countless visits to Andre Patrick and director Clemens Roos at the Cadastre office to the point, Roos told this newspaper yesterday, “that he kept me from my regular work.”

In the end, Roos wrote a letter to Hodge informing him that he would have to pay for the research they were doing for him. That resulted in a bill of 6,720 guilders – and Hodge said that he paid it in full.

That did not solve his problem though: the Cadastre will not give him a letter of admeasurement that proves his ownership. “Mr. Hodge wants us to give him a statement about what he wants, but we are unable to find evidence in the registry to support his claim,” Roos said.
The Cadastre was able to establish that the land does not, as was previously thought, belong to the Catholic diocese of Curacao.

“We cannot declare letters of admeasurement void, if we do not have evidence to support such an action,” Roos said. “The best thing Mr. Hodge could do is plead the statute of limitation but he does not want to do that.”

One of the problems, according to Roos, is that Hodge is not the only rightful claimant. “He pretends to be the only heir, but there is no certainty about that. I understand his frustration, but I’d like to point out that the cadastre is not a party in this. We mediate to find a solution.”

Roos says that Hodge’s great-grandmother had eight children and that the part of the family tree he submitted to the cadastre only shows his own line of descent. “It is hard to believe that he is the sole heir,” Roos said. “The ownership of the land has never been formalized. The only way to settle this is to bring all parties who have an interest in it together and then to negotiate a solution.”

Hodge in the meantime is not happy with the treatment he received from the Cadastre, in particular from the now retired Andre Patrick.  “Mr. Patrick informed me that promising information had been found and that it was just a matter of typing up the report,” Hodge wrote in his letter to this newspaper wherein he explains the situation in detail. “Mr. Patrick told me to meet him in various locations, and made arrangements for him to come to my house to discuss the matter. Finally, after many broken appointments, I confronted Mr. Patrick at the Cadastre Office and asked him what the meaning was of all this cloak and dagger stuff. I told him that it looked like he wanted me to offer him a bribe or that he was going to solicit one but kept getting cold feet.”

Hodge says that Patrick issued a letter of admeasurement to Myrtle Gloria Brooks-Dollison. “He cited evidence that the land belonged to a Mrs. Leonie Dollison and Charles Hazel, the son of Rachel hazel. Where he got this information from I don’t know, because he said he could not find any information about the property.”

Hodge asked the Cadastre to void that letter of admeasurement, but that did not happen. “We cannot declare letters of admeasurement void, if we do not have evidence to support such an action,” Roos said. “The best thing Mr. Hodge could do is plead the statute of limitation but he does not want to do that.”

Hodge says that Cadastre served him an “exorbitant” and “fraudulent” bill for services that were not rendered.

He also states in his letter that the cadastre issued fraudulent letters of admeasurement, and asks that corrections be made in the registry. “Hopefully those who falsified records and maps for whatever reason will be brought to justice and not allowed to ride off into the sunset.”

 

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Comments (1)

 

  1. Francis D. Hodge says:

    As of this writing, up to now the ANG6720.00 report that was ready for pickup as soon as I paid, is still not ready. Also, even though I am making serious accusations of inappropriate conduct by Cadastre personnel, no investigative law enforcement branch has contacted me regarding these allegations. I’m sure there are a lot of other people who have Cadastre issues, but are hesitant to come forward and document them. Don’t allow anyone to steal your ancestors land. Fight for your rights.