|AMENDMENT MADE TO LONG
LOOK LANDS ACT
Representative for the 8th District Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering was pleased that
Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Hon. Julian Fraser managed to bring the Long
Look Lands Commission and Titles (Amendment) Act, 2002 before the House.
The amendment sought to impose certain restrictions on the selling of
land at Nottingham Estate in the Long Look area. These restrictions are intended to
ensure that land which has been granted to persons who are inhabitants of that
is not disposed of to non-inhabitants, Hon. Fraser explained.
He said the land could however be sold if there is no
inhabitant able and willing to buy the property at an agreed price to the seller. There
are also provisions to ensure that if no such buyer is found, the property may be sold to
However, the District Representative was surprised to see the
Bill on the Order Paper, as the Minister did not see it fit to send a copy of the Bill to
the Representative for the area for any possible comments, knowing full well that I
have a very deep seated interest in the matter.
Hon. Pickering was the first to rise to make his
contribution. He commended the Minister for bringing this Bill, but sought to put it into
perspective regarding the areas historical significance. He pointed out that the
Nottingham Estate represents the first free slave plantation in the western world and it
is therefore imperative that this land be given the pre-eminence that it deserves.
Dr. Pickering lobbied for amendments to the Bill and was
strong in his view that the land should not be sold to Non-belongers, but back to the
government to remain in perpetuity. He pointed out that there was a problem with this land
where individuals who no longer resided in the area and had no interest in residing there,
who because of their direct family ties were given the privilege of owning piece of the
land, but no sooner were they given title to the land they disposed of it.
The land was given free and they would sell the land to
whosever will may come; clearly Mr. Speaker, that is not only sinful, it is abominable,
because the sweat and tears of our forefathers cannot be ignored and for us to just
casually dispose of the land like that is a real sad omen to those of us who live in the
area and to the British Virgin Islands as a whole, the 7th District Representative
He suggested that this would be a prime opportunity for
government to set up a land bank, an idea that has been bandied around for a long time. He
is convinced that in this case, the land should remain for their heirs and successors of
the original slaves of Nottingham Estate. As it stands now, only those individuals alive
now have the opportunity to get the land. And clearly that was not the intention of
the original landowners when they bequeathed the land to the slaves.
The 7th District Rep. also wanted to see the terms fair
market value included in the section where the seller puts up the land for sale to
non-inhabitants at an agreeable price. He said this would help to ensure that the land
remains in the hands of local people and that government would continue to have the
necessary control over the land to ensure that the right people benefit from the lands at
Contribution to this debate also came from
Territorial-At-Large Representatives Hon. Ronnie Skelton and Hon. Eileene Parsons.
In winding up, the Minister of Natural Resources and Labour would not accept criticism for
not taking the Bill to the 7th District Representative. He said Hon. Pickering had every
opportunity to make submissions of his recommendations to him regarding the Bill. If
you want to appear to your people as being forthright and doing what youre supposed
to be doing, then so be it, but not at my expense!
Minister Fraser was also of the view that it would not be
right to jeopardize the ability of an individual to profit to the maximum. Those are
the reasons for considering non-inhabitants for being able to own property on the estate
after five years.
The Minister said government hopes that the provisions in the
Long Look Lands Commission and Titles (Amendment) Act, 2002 would be used as a
model for the transfer of crown property in the future.
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