Georgetown: As the Government of Guyana continues with its drive to ensure that sustainable, family oriented communities are created across Guyana, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) has begun working with the sixth community this year to regularise land usage. Commissioner of that organisation, Mr. Trevor Benn, along with a team from the Commission visited Kwakwani, Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten) to initiate a process, which is expected to be completed in six months, to provide Transports for lands that are already occupied.
The GLSC has already initiated similar programmes in areas in Bartica, Cuyuni- Mazaruni (Region Seven), Aranaputa, Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo (Region Nine), Port Kaituma, Barima- Waini (Region One), Mahdia, Potaro- Siparuni (Region Eight) and Mocha Arcadia, Demerara- Mahaica (Region Four). An approximate 1200 persons stand to benefit from the process. During that outreach today Commissioner Benn announced that based on the findings of the visit to Kwakwani, a team from the Land Management Division of the Commission will be deployed during the first week of November to set the wheels in motion. “We will be assigning someone to the community. They will be here to work with the [Neighbourhood Democratic Council] NDC in identifying these issues. We have many issues and we won’t be able to solve all of them at once but we will have the NDC identify one area and we are going to fix the issues there and then we will move on from there,” the Head of the GLSC said.
The Commissioner also said that the granting of titles to establish rightful ownership to deserving persons will help to improve their quality of lives and the status of their communities. “The objective is to make sure that in a short space of time we can resolves the issues of land titling for all of you. I am surprised to learn that almost everyone in Kwakwani is without a lease. That is depressing and we have to fix that for each of you. You cannot improve your lives if you do not have ownership to basic things like land. You cannot get a mortgage if you do not have the documents for the land,” he said.
Mr. Benn told residents that while the Commission will be doing all that is within its power to ensure that the community becomes regularised but added that they also have a key responsibility to cooperate and to pay all outstanding dues so that the Commission can continue with the execution of its mandate. “You must follow the rules and for those who are entitled, regardless of who you support, once you are entitled, you will get your land. We will do a thorough investigation of the issues raised. These are very serious issues and we want to ensure that in the shortest possible time that we can deal with those issues and get you your titles. Unless you are prepared to work with us then we cannot get anywhere. We need to cooperate,” he said.
Member of the Board of Directors for the GLSC, Mr. Randy Storm, in brief remarks, echoed these sentiments, noting that while the Commission will continue in its work to improve communities, residents must too take ownership and be cooperative. “This place has potential. I shall make every effort to see that you get some help but help is already on its way. They will be here the first week in November and you must stop the bickering and quarrelling among yourselves. We will not be able to get anywhere if you do not stop. You have to help us to help you,” he said.
Chairperson of the Kwakwani NDC, Ms. Merna Adrian, in an invited comment, said that she is immensely pleased that the GLSC has hosted the outreach in the community and met with residents to listen to some of the concerns. More importantly, she said, the community is thankful that a decision was made on the spot to send a team so soon into the area to start the process.
“From the part of the NDC, we will work cooperatively and I am going to try to get the community to cooperate so that we can do the best thing for everyone involved but we are very happy to have the GLSC here today with us,” she said.
The team from the Commission visited and met with residents in Chinese Lane, Staff Hill, Jonestown, Jonestown Two/ Airstrip and Kwakwani Park.
Overseer of the NDC, Ms. Clairasa Hohenkirk, also in an invited comment, said that the approach from the GLSC is welcomed and the local government organ is pleased that the land issues will be addressed.