Linden Block 42 residents voice concerns over land issues

first_imgResidents of Block 42, a developing community in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), have voiced numerous concerns regarding land access and ownership with Indigenous Peoples Affairs Minister, Sydney Allicock.Some of the residents along with Minister Allicock at the meetingIssues such as the occupation of lands and its allocation as well as concerns regarding land titles were raised with the Minister during a recent visit to the Speightland community situated at Mackenzie, Linden.Residents of Block 42, who attended the meeting, said they were fearful that the untitled lands that they occupy might be taken away by persons as was the case in the past.Issues regarding land for both housing and commercial purposes are major concerns within the region and according to officials, this is majorly due to National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) having ownership of the land.During the meeting, Haniff Emamudin, a resident, stated, “Minister, this land thing, we’re just asking if you could just look into it…where I am living, I’m on a part of NICIL land and I’m not looking that somebody would come now and say, ‘well listen my great grandfather used to occupy this land here fifty years ago and you just came here the other day’. I believe people who develop this land and is living there with their families, making a living and develop this land …at least they should get some rights. Not a man who was [here] fifty years ago, as they say, ‘a mark land’”, the resident noted.The resident noted that he has put a lot of labour into the plot of land he is currently occupying and it would be unreasonable if someone turns up to inform him that their relatives are the owners.“This has happened in the past, that people come up with a whole map of 50 or 60 years back and a man who put his soul out there [on the land] they had a big problem”, he outlined.Another resident noted that 61 plots of land in the community have already been surveyed but noted that people are coming into the community and selling them.“People coming in from all sides now and they claiming lands which is not dem own”, the resident alleged.“I’ve been pushing a long time to get title for me land”, another resident noted.In response, the Minister noted that checks have to be made with NICIL, which he explained would take some time. He further encouraged residents to check for records related to land before laying their foundations.He also alluded that an Inquiry, which was expected to deal with such issues across the country, had been shut down years ago.“That is why the President, in 2015, recognised the difficulty with lands in Guyana in general and ordered that there be a Commission of Inquiry into all lands. That process started and it had a period of time it was stopped. For us, as Indigenous Peoples, we had a number of groups including the National Toshao’s Council saying they didn’t want it and put it to a halt. And that is now back to haunt us because this could have been something in progress. The idea was to sort out all these land issues and let everybody be treated equally, fairly”, the Minister related.The outcome, he noted, is that presently there are communities fighting amongst themselves as it relates to land and the issue is difficult to sort it out.Nevertheless, the Minister said the Region 10 Democratic Council and Linden Mayor and Town Council have a lot of work to do as it relates to sorting out the lands and their titles.“As somebody was saying, there’s confusion in the lands here. You don’t know where your boundaries [are] and all of that. These need to be sorted out and it’s not easy. So I understand what the people are saying. It is for us to settle it, how do we go about this”, the Minister said.He also recalled situations where lands have been sold multiple times.Minister Allicock believes that one day, the situation will be sorted out and is optimistic that residents and Government have to work in resolving these issues. For the developing community of Block 42, he said it is slowly evolving with improvements in water, lighting and roads.last_img read more