Govt considering rent increases for leased lands

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Trevor Benn, has announced that Government is considering the option of increasing the rent for leased lands as another method of garnering revenue.
Benn indicated that the Commission has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at generating revenue to make its services more efficient and stakeholder-friendly. This announcement was made during a press briefing at the D’Urban Backlands office.

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Trevor Benn
Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Trevor Benn

One of the initiatives that are to be undertaken by the commission is a lease portfolio that will determine the amount of leases that have been granted and their incomes.
Benn stated that lease increases have not been initiated for some years and have led to persons paying meagre fees.
He noted that although the Commission still does most of its work manually, it is in the process of digitising its records, a process expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
He further added that GLSC is currently working on a project funded through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) that will help to provide the resources to speed-up its computerisation process.
Meanwhile, the Commission is urging the public to desist from building structures on Government reserves: “It is illegal to occupy Government or State property without permission of the State agency…however, there has been a lapse and people were allowed, wittingly or unwittingly, to occupy Government reserves. What we have found though is that it has become a real hindrance to the developmental works that the Government would like to pursue…. Therefore, the call that was made recently, one, is to remind people that it is illegal to do that, and secondly, to tell people that going forward, it will not be encouraged.”
While some persons living on the reserves have been served notices to desist, the GLSC is hampered from taking further action as some of them have been granted licence to occupy some portions of land.
“We’re saying to them that we’re not prepared to perpetually grant licence to them to be on the reserve. In fact the licence is very clear that whenever government is ready for use of the reserve that they will have to vacate. So it is very clear to anyone, who may have had a licence in the past… some people have begun to believe that this is a right and so without even getting approval from Lands and Surveys, they go on to the parapets, they go on to the reserves and so we’re trying to discontinue that practice,” Benn said.