(Photo Credit: Ahreefa Bacchus/BVI Platinum News)
A number of difficult land related issues that span decades are being sorted by the Ministry of Natural Resources, with the aim of finally rectifying. This disclosure was made by Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon. Vincent Wheatley during the House of Assembly sitting on July 31.
Hon. Wheatley disclosed that matters that go back to as far as 1969 are still requiring the assistance of the Ministry.
“The Ministry has been fielding some very complicated land issues, some of which date back forty years and some fifty years ago. The land situation in this Territory is very convoluted and requires and inordinate amount of time to sort out.”
While he did not disclose what the issues are, Hon. Wheatley did promise that the matters would be finally rectified.
“We are determined to help the people of this Territory sort out these matters as they tend to get more complicated and less likely to be resolved with each successive generation,” he told the House of Assembly.
In fact, the Minister who has responsibility for lands, noted that the issues are Territory wide and not confined to a particular District or area.
“These issues span the entire length and breadth of this Territory and we are determined to assist as the people have nowhere else to turn for solution to these vexing issues. We have identified areas in the Registered Land Ordinance that need some revision; to that end, we have convened a committee that is currently working on those reviews.”
Additionally, Hon. Wheatley mentioned that his Ministry continues to work with persons who have received letters informing them that they have been awarded a piece of Crown land by Cabinet.
He noted that there was a delay in the title issue process, but announced that the presentation of titles will be moving forward.
“We apologize for any delay, but I assure you that we are doing everything possible to issue titles.”
It was also noted that some persons were given land, but never paid for it and as such those lands will be given to others.
“Based on our current policy to revoke lands that were not paid for, we are in the process of making those lots available to persons who were previously approved by Cabinet.”
In making the new offers of land, the Minister said that person who are able to qualify for a bank loan will be given preference.
“While the general idea is to give as many persons (especially young people) as possible the opportunity for land ownership, priority will be given to those that are in a position to qualify at a bank for the loan to do so. This decision was on the heel of a number of applications that cannot be satisfied at this time, while at the same time there are persons who were awarded land and have made no attempt to pay for it and this goes as far back as 15 years or more’” Hon. Wheatley added.