MMA-ADA transfer Berbice co-op lands for housing project
…while previous lease still valid
Members of a co-op society are calling for the repossession of lands at Trafalgar, West Coast Berbice (WCB), which were leased by the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA) back in 2006 and then permission was inexplicably given for persons to operate on the land, even though the previous lease was still valid.
Head of the Co-op Society and Councillor of the Region Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Lloyda Angus explained that the lease was granted for persons to utilise three plots of land after registering with the Friendly Society Organisation. Shares were sold and 30 persons obtained a spot to conduct economic and agricultural activities. The lease was valid for some 50 years.
“We formed ourselves into a co-operative where we sold shares and we embarked on projects like beekeeping, poultry, sewing and so on. That lease was valid for 50 years and I signed as the lessee,” she explained.
However, in 2015, the office was visited by a group of APNU supporters, who demanded that she hand over the key to the building, indicating that they would be the new occupants. Angus said she was also told to relinquish the lease documents.
“In 2015, the APNU supporters said they’re coming to break the office unless I give the present persons that are there the keys. With the threats I received, I choose to leave. In the process, they also called the police. Until this day, those things are still at the Fort Wellington Police Station,” the Councillor related.
Angus stated that in 2018, the MMA-ADA then gave the land to the Food For The Poor organisation for houses to be constructed for persons within the community. Last December, the matter was heard in the High Court, where Justice Navindra Singh ruled that that the present occupants are trespassing.
“The MMA-ADA cannot do that. As the lessee, only I can give permission in writing for someone to use the land. An official there was the one who give them permission to use the land even though he wasn’t supposed to do so.”
However, the attorney representing the co-op society offered to settle the matter by having an election with the two parties.
“On December 12, 2018, this matter was heard and Justice Singh told the occupants that they are trespassing. The attorney said to us that in order for us to regain possession of this land, we must go for an election, forming an interim committee with the illegal occupants,” she said.
It was indicated that the shareholders have been paying monies to the MMA-ADA for the past three years, but yet, they cannot access the land. The Councillor told this publication that they are seeking to regain possession of the land, which is now occupied by trespassers. She reminded that the lease is still valid. Efforts by this newspaper to contact officials of the MMA- ADA for a comment on the matter were futile.