Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Hon. Vincent Wheatley announced during the House of Assembly on July 31 that some land matters that go back to as far as 1969 are still requiring the assistance of the Ministry.
Hon. Wheatley while delivering an update on projects in his District announced that: “The Ministry has been fielding some very complicated land issues, some of which date back forty years and some fifty years ago. The land situation in this Territory is very convoluted and requires an inordinate amount of time to sort out.”
As he assured that the situation will be rectified Hon. Wheatley stated that Government is determined to help the people of this Territory sort out these land matters which sometime get complicated and is less likely to be resolved with each successive generation.
Hon. Wheatley who has responsibility for lands noted that the issues are Territory-wide and not confined to a particular District or area: “These issues span the entire length and breadth of this Territory and we are determined to assist as the people have nowhere else to turn for solution to these vexing issues. We have identified areas in the Registered Land Ordinance that need some revision and to that end we have convened a committee that is currently working on those reviews.”
As it relates to land titles, the Natural Resources Minister mentioned that his Ministry continues to work with persons who have received letters informing them that they have been awarded a piece of Crown land by Cabinet.
Hon. Wheatley admitted that there was a delay in the issuing of land titles, however he announced that the presentation of titles will be moving forward. “We apologize for any delay, but I assure you that we are doing everything possible to issue titles.”
Furthermore, the Minister explained that there were some instances where persons were given land but never paid for it and as such those lands will be given to others. “Based on our current policy to revoke lands that were not paid for, we are in the process of making those lots available to persons who were previously approved by Cabinet.”
“While the general idea is to give as many persons (especially young people) as possible the opportunity for land ownership, priority will be given to those who are in a position to qualify at a bank for the loan to do so; this decision was on the heels of a number of applications that cannot be satisfied at this time, while at the same time there are persons who were awarded land and have made no attempt to pay for it and this goes as far back as 15 years or more,” the Minister added.