Blairmont Rice Investment Inc. loses CCJ case
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THE Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), on Friday, dismissed the appeal filed by Blairmont Rice Investment Inc. against Kayman Sankar Group of Companies for alleged breach of contract. Presiding over the case was Justices Adrian Saunders, Jacob Wit, Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Andrew Burgess and Peter Jamadar. Blairmont Rice was represented by attorneys Sanjeev Datadin, Jamela Ali S.C. and Donavon Rangiah, while Kayman Sankar was represented by Juman Yassin S.C. and Teni Housty.

The appeal concerned an alleged breach of contract for the sale of land committed against the Blairmont Rice Investment Inc., a company which was struck off the Companies Register since 2010 for its failure to file annual returns. The case involved elements of both Contract and Company Law. There were two main issues in the case, the first being whether the failure of the rice company to pay two instalments of the balance amounts to a repudiation of the agreements, and the second being whether a company struck off the Companies Register in Guyana pursuant to Section 487 of the Companies Act Chapter 89:01 (the “Companies Act”) is dissolved.

The original case had been heard by the High Court of Guyana in 2011. Blairmont had entered into three agreements with the Sankars to buy land, equipment, and buildings in December 2006. Blairmont Rice made an initial payment towards the purchase and it was agreed that the remaining amount would be paid in portions at half-yearly intervals. There was a term in the agreements that Kayman Sankar had the right to repossess the properties if Blairmont Rice failed to make the required payments.

In a motion filed in the Court of Appeal of Guyana on February 9, 2017, Blairmont Rice alleged that it sought an order for the matter to be returned to the High Court of Guyana for retrial because the trial judge had failed to provide written reasons for his decisions before retiring from office. In its application, the company alleged that the Court of Appeal of Guyana had refused its request and, instead, ordered that the Record of Appeal be settled and that the appeal should proceed. Consequently, Blairmont Rice appealed the case to the CCJ.

The CCJ’s ruling was delivered by Justice Jamadar. He said that the consequences of the defaults in payments, in the circumstances of the case, effectively undermined the “commercial purpose of the venture.” “The respondents have been substantially deprived of a central and significant benefit that it was agreed and intended would be derived from these contractual arrangements. The respondents were therefore entitled to consider the contracts discharged and to repudiate them,” he added.  Among other things, the judge noted that the appeal could not succeed and he agreed that Kayman Sankar was entitled to rescind the agreements. As such, the CCJ dismissed the appeal and affirmed the 2017 orders of the Court of Appeal. Blairmont was also ordered to pay basic costs to the respondents in the sum of $1,705,250.

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