IT was sheer smiles on the faces of the 79 residents of Matthew’s Ridge, Region One, after they were presented with titles for their lands by Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams. She was accompanied by senior officials of the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GLSC), including Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Trevor Benn.
The residents, many of whom applied for plots of land for residential, entrepreneurial and agricultural purposes, are now empowered through possession of the legal document, to carry out whatever transaction that required a land title as collateral. Many of them will be seeking funding to expand their operations or construct their homes.
Minister Hastings-Williams related that such a move is in keeping with the government’s mandate to bring the good life to all Guyanese and to provide them with equal opportunities.
Many of those who received their titles had applications pending for over a decade. Hastings said now the residents have been served, it is just the beginning of the process.
“You couldn’t do anything, build or extend on a land that you do not own legally and that was hindering them. A lot of people wanted to build, expand or to open up a business but they could not have done that, they would have been operating illegally and some persons started to squat. So now they are happy that they have the legal documents… the residents were very happy,” she said.
Earlier in the year, CEO Benn and his senior officers visited Region One and realised that scores of persons were without titles for their lands. The first step was to establish a GLSC sub-office in Port Kaituma, to commence investigations on land issues affecting residents. The records were sorted and titles were processed. The processes of distributing those titles commenced on Thursday and while 120 persons were on record to receive same, only 79 uplifted.
Residents, whose titles were not completed, were able to make payments and the officers will return to Matthew’s Ridge in a matter of two weeks, to continue the distribution process.
Port Kaituma residents will benefit from land title distribution in the near future. At a community meeting on Thursday, many residents were able to voice their concerns about land allocation, among other things. Many of them said they would have applied for plots of land as early as 1997 and are still waiting for titles. Their concerns were addressed and a follow-up meeting will be held, where additional information will be taken to get the ‘ball rolling’. To better serve the residents, the GLSC has placed a resident officer at the sub-office in Port Kaituma to deal with these issues on a daily basis.