Residents from villages along the West Coast of Berbice (WCB) and along the Corentyne will soon benefit from Certificates of Title as Government moves to issue formal titles to persons occupying lands without the ownership documents.
On Thursday, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, conducted an outreach with residents of Numbers Three, Four and Five Villages, West Coast Berbice, to commence the regularisation programme for those areas.
He explained that this exercise is intended to issue Certificates of Title to residents who have been occupying lands for decades without any formal documents.
Similar exercises will be conducted at Cotton Tree Village, WCB, and Number 46 Village on the Corentyne Coast.
Addressing residents gathered at the public engagement, Nandlall explained that land titling is a historical issue in Guyana.
“Dating back decades, Guyanese have been living in communities right across this land without formal title being issued to them in relation to the land that they are occupying… What this exercise is intended to do, at the end of the process, is to put in every hand a Certificate of Title for the land upon which your house is standing,” he stated.
The Attorney General further stated that only two documents recognise ownership of lands – Transport or Certificate of Title. He added that most, if not all, the residents in those three villages have none of these documents.
On this note, Nandlall underscored the importance of these documents to show ownership of lands.
“This process is simply to give you that document. That document allows you immeasurable opportunities in relation to that property,” he said.
A part for proving formal ownership of the land, the Attorney General posited that having formal titles also allow residents to be able to pass the property to their children or other family members as well as use the land as a collateral to obtain loans from commercial banks.
“So, this is a very important exercise for the betterment of you and your family. And the Government is undertaking this task free of cost… This is another elections promise being delivered,” the AG asserted.
However, Nandlall explained that the process will include land surveys of the area in order to ascertain the parameters of the lands occupied by the residents. That information will be put into a plan, following which a Judge in the Berbice High Court will grant an Order authorising the issuance of the titles.
But according to AG Nandlall, the success of the process depends on the participation and cooperation of residents. As such, he encouraged them to get on board.
“This process can only benefit you. There is no disadvantage, there is nothing detrimental to your interest… We are here to do this for you so that you can have title for your lands and once you have title for your lands, you can do so much to help yourself and your family,” he stressed.
During the public engagement, one resident raised questions about the survey process and concerns about properties overlapping.
However, AG Nandlall in acknowledging these, reassured residents that these circumstances will be taken into consideration in the regularising process.
“This task is not going to be an easy one neither is it impossible… We are prepared as a Government to help you bring regularity and formality to your ownership,” the Attorney General contended.
Currently, a similar exercise is already underway in Cotton Tree, WCB, where he said residents will soon receive their land titles. Additionally, Government will also soon be moving to regularise the Number 46 Village on the Corentyne Coast.
Member of Parliament Faizal Jaffarally, Region Six Chairman David Armogan, Region Five Vice Chairman Zamal Hussain, Neighbourhood Democratic Council Chairman and officials from the Legal Affairs Ministry and the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) attended the engagement on Thursday.