Published On: Thu, Jul 12th, 2018

Notaries issue ultimatum about non-functioning Kadaster


PHILIPSBURG – On Wednesday, July 11th, 2018, the notaries on St. Maarten issued an ultimatum regarding the lack of a functioning Mortgage Conservator at the Kadaster. If by Sunday, July 15th, no action is taken to remedy the situation, the notaries will collectively take legal action against the Stichting Kadaster en Hypotheekwezen Sint Maarten and all other stakeholders. The situation has become a serious liability issue for the notaries as they have not been able to fulfill their notarial duties and obligations to clients for the past three weeks.

The Role of a Mortgage Conservator at the Kadaster

An important task of the Mortgage Conservator on Sint Maarten (formally part of and known as STICHTING KADASTER EN HYPOTHEEKWEZEN SINT MAARTEN), is that the Mortgage Conservator is the administrator and the guardian of the Public Registries of all immovable properties on Sint Maarten.

The Mortgage Conservator has to see that all title and rights (including encumbrances such as liens and mortgages) of any type of ownership of immovable property is properly and duly registered. Changes in the ownership of an immovable property are executed on Sint Maarten by a civil law notary via an authentic notarial deed or by a ruling of the Court.

A civil law notary is legally obliged to submit the deeds or declarations for inscription within the public registries at the Mortgage Conservator (Kadaster) and has to see to it that the title to the immovable property that has been transferred is free and clear of any encumbrances. This final title should be evident from a final title search which is issued by the Mortgage Conservator and subsequently upon receipt of such title search, the civil law notary will proceed and pay out parties (for example the seller).

Clemens Roos

Mr. Clemens Roos, the former head (of the managing board) and Mortgage Conservator of the Kadaster, has been legally dismissed by the Court of First Instance on Sint Maarten as per August 1, 2015, which is now almost three years ago. According to the notaries, up until the present time, the Kadaster is not functioning properly as there was no new appointment for a new Managing Boardmember. The Supervisory Board, whose members are not legally known since there has not been an update of the registration of the Supervisory Board members (see Chamber extract), has not taken any measures to solve the situation.

The problems and issues the public and the notaries are facing are serious and are now jeopardizing the work of the notaries. Notaries are being accused of not carrying out their work or failing to proceed or follow up on the work assigned to them with all legal consequences and liabilities from the private sector. Apparently, the government ministries are not aware of the dire situation and the public is systematically being misinformed.

Supervisory Board

Until shortly, the Supervisory Board of the Kadaster (along with the relevant ministries involved) appointed an employee (Marcia Peterson – Ed.) to temporarily fulfill the function of Mortgage Conservator (next to her present work-related activities). The notaries have indicated the seriousness of the non-functioning of the Kadaster. There was at least one capable employee the notaries could rely on to carry out the registration work. However, this employee did not have the authority to sign or approve the registration of deeds and documents. To make matters worse, this employee has left the Kadaster after working there for 19 years. According to answers to inquiries StMaartenNews.com made, Acting Kadaster Director and Acting Mortgage Conservator, Marcia Peterson, is on sick leave. So now the notaries and the public on St. Maarten are left without a crucially experienced Mortgage Conservator and Kadaster with no capable persons to do the work for over three weeks. An untenable situation that can no longer be allowed to be continued.

In a press release sent to StMaartenNews.com, the notaries of St. Maarten state that “If this is not being solved by the end of this week, being July 15th, 2018, legal measures will be taken against Stichting Kadaster en Hypotheekwezen Sint Maarten and all other stakeholders as this no longer is acceptable for and by the public of Sint Maarten.”

“Sint Maarten (post Irma) needs for all stakeholders, being government and the private sector, to actively contribute and work on the economy of Sint Maarten.” – Notaries of Sint Maarten

Chamber extract

An extract from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on St. Maarten dated Wednesday, July 11th, 2018, does not reflect any of the Supervisory Board members of Stichting Kadaster en Hypotheekwezen Sint Maarten which is supposed to consist of Louis Crastel Gumbs, Nzinga Lake, Victoria Dubourcq and Charlesworth Sydney. According to StMaartenNews.com’s information, Mr. Vincent Carlos Boëtius, was the last sitting supervisory boardmember who resigned in October 2016. The Kadaster needs a full complement of five supervisory boardmembers. But without an official supervisory board in place, no official appointment of a Mortgage Conservator can be made. “So how will this all be legally solved?” asked the notaries in their press statement.


Relevant links:

Chamber of Commerce extract of the Kadaster per Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Article: Incompetent employees put Cadastre at risk
Opinion piece: Rudderless
Opinion piece: A coveted position