Notaries still thwarted by inability to register transfers and mortgages

PHILIPSBURG--It is almost a month now that the country’s civil notaries’ ability to register property transfer and mortgage deeds has been thwarted.
The notaries said in a press statement on Tuesday that they have been forced “to temporarily postpone” the execution of deeds until an authorised signatory is installed at the Land and Mortgage Registry (referred to as the Kadaster in Dutch).
This despite Finance Minister Perry Geerlings committing more than a week ago to solve the ongoing issue at the Kadaster to get registration back on track. No resolution has yet come to the fore even after the severely crippling situation was highlight by civil law notaries Marlène Mingo, Meredith Boekhoudt and Faride Tjon Ajong.
 An interim mortgage custodian is to be sworn in, the minister’s office told The Daily Herald when queried about the situation. When exactly the swearing-in of one Robert Boekholt will occur was not yet known. Once he takes the oath, his appointment will last for three months and has the possibility of extension, if necessary.
This ongoing situation has not only severely hampered the notaries, it has repercussions for the processing of building permits and finances due to government’s coffers. The country is being robbed of very-much-needed land transfer taxes and other fees as this situation at the Kadaster drags on.
The Kadaster’s acting head has been off on sick-leave for some weeks now, leaving the vital government organ without anyone empowered to sign off on deeds and titles.
The Kadaster is the administrator and the guardian of the public registries of all immovable properties in St. Maarten. The Mortgage Conservator at the Kadaster has to see to it to register all title and rights (including encumbrances such as liens and mortgages) of any type of ownership of immovable property.
Changes in the ownership of an immovable property are carried out in St. Maarten by a civil law notary via an authentic/notarial deed or by a ruling of the Court.
The Daily Herald
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