Crown Lands Management Bill Gets First Reading

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(PLTM) - GIS - The Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley, is urging the residents of the Virgin Islands to pay attention to the Crown Lands Management Bill, as it received its first reading in the House of Assembly on 2nd May 2024.

This Bill outlines clear criteria and processes for the disposal and leasing of Crown Lands, ensuring that decisions made in relation to lands are transparent and in the interest of the community.

Premier Wheatley stated, “I am pleased to present to this esteemed House a comprehensive Crown Lands Management Bill, which has been developed with careful consideration of our historical context, current challenges, and future aspirations. This Bill is not merely a set of rules and regulations, it is a road map to sustainable development, social equity and environmental stewardship.”

Some of the key components of the Crown Lands Management Bill include sustainability, affordability, suitability of lands for development, eligibility criteria and responsible management. The Bill also mandates the establishment of a periodic Land Use Plan, which will help shape the future of land allocation, planned communities, and mitigate the adverse impacts of unsuitable development.

The Premier further stated, “We recognise the delicate balance between economic growth and environmental protection, and our approach reflects a commitment for guarding our natural resources, for generations to come.”

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, Dr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley, further urged the Virgin Islands community to read the Crown Lands Management Bill and become acquainted with its content.

According to Dr. Smith-Berkeley, "The Virgin Islands Crown Lands Management Bill holds significant importance in determining the future development and prosperity of every Virgin Islander. Hence, it is highly recommended for all members of the community to thoroughly peruse the Bill, which has already received its initial reading in the House."

The Crown Lands Management Bill governs the administration, management, development and use of all Crown and for all purposes and focuses on strengthening the transparent administration and management of Crown land, including the disposal of lands.

The public is asked to provide their valuable comments on the Crown Lands Management Bill which can be accessed from the Government of the Virgin Islands website, bvi.gov.vg.

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