Govt working on land titling, African ancestral lands – Nandlall assures ECD residents

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall SC

In the wake of a visit to Melanie by a Government team that saw several residents raise concerns about land titling and African ancestral lands, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has promised that a team from his Ministry will return and look into these matters.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall was among the team of Government Ministers visiting Melanie on the East Coast of Demerara ECD) on Saturday. During the visit, several residents raised the issue of ancestral lands and land titling, including one woman who said she paid for land since 2005 but has not gotten transports.

“We need our lands… we need our ancestral lands; we need our titles. My husband dead and I ain’t get the transport. And like me gon dead and not get the transport too,” said the elderly woman.

A resident raising concerns about ancestral lands at teh outreach

“We need the lands. Those are our ancestors’ lands. Those people work hard, they fight for those lands. Blood spill for those lands,” she said, claiming that persons from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) had promised to give them the lands on the condition that they had to cultivate cane.

According to the resident, who hails from the community of Bare Root, residents were unable to fulfil that condition.

Meanwhile, Nandlall assured the residents that a team from the Legal Affairs Ministry will return to the area next week, where they will sit down with residents to address their land titling concerns.

“The question of title. Now, as you know, I have been going around the country, with the support sometimes of Housing and Lands and Surveys, to bring regularity to what I think Housing describes as squatting settlements. Villages and communities that exist for decades, where there is no titular ownership of the land that people have constructed their houses on.”

Government officials at the Melanie outreach on Saturday

“So, I have been going around filling these gaps. We’re doing several villages on the Corentyne, West Coast Berbice, Essequibo and in Region Three. The persons at Buxton and Golden Grove and the Prime Minister and I met with a group there, they also raised the same issue of untitled lands,” Nandlall said.

The Attorney General explained that after the next session of Parliament goes into recess, he will be visiting communities along the East Coast to begin the process of land regularisation. He noted that the villagers would meet with the surveyors. Meanwhile, Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal also assured that work is underway to ensure persons can get their long-awaited titles.

“Just to update you, we have finished the occupational survey. And we have already filed the plan with the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission. So, by the second week of August, I’m expecting to get that plan approved. And we’ll move to the next phase of processing the titles. So, I can assure you that, well not for Emancipation but for your Christmas, you will have your titles,” Croal said.

Back in May, an outreach led by Nandlall in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), saw decades-old land issues at Walton Hall and Jib villages on the Essequibo Coast being addressed. The Attorney General was accompanied at the time by Croal, Regional Vice Chairman Humace Odit, and Prime Ministerial representative Arnold Adams.

Residents on the ECD at the government outreach

Minister Nandlall had explained at the time that the lands were previously owned by a cooperative society whose members passed away and therefore, the intention is to move the transport from a singular transport vested in the name of the co-op into individual transports for persons who are occupying land.

“The first step in the process is to get the lands surveyed, do a plan, individual plan to demarcate exactly where you are living, and then to begin the process…what is of crucial importance is that you indicate to the persons who drawing the plan the name that you will like the transport to be issued in,” the Attorney General had told the residents.