Minister for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Hon Elvin Nimrod, has been loudly applauded for having made good on his promise to ensure that crown lands which were distributed to the landless and were later rescinded by the last administration were returned to the recipients.
Currently about 66 parcels of land amounting to about thirteen (13) acres are being worked on in the Belair area, while some 20 pieces totalling about three acres is just about completed in the Six Roads Community. Several of the recipients have already indicated their delight with the decision taken by the minister in ensuring that “lands are made available to the landless.” A surveyor has been working on the two plots of lands to re-establish the various boundaries which were established when the lands were first distributed by the previous New National Party Government.
During the reign of the last administration, a decision was taken to reclaim the lands on the motion that lands were distributed in return for votes. However this move angered the recipients, which prompted Nimrod as the Parliamentary Representative to stand in their defence, by assuring them that when the New National Party returns to office, the issue of lands to the landless would be among his priorities.
On several occasions he had said that if the people had been allowed the take ownership of the lands which were given to them, they would have had the privilege to use the lands to enhance their lives and that of their families. Some of the people he said are single mothers who are desperate for a better standard of living.
“This was a foolish move by the previous administration, as persons in need from both sides of the political fence and even the neutrals, were awarded once they had satisfied the criteria” said a mother of two, who pointed out that it has always been her wish to own a piece of land.
During the campaign leading up to the 2013 elections which the New National Party won, Nimrod lamented over the issue on numerous occasions in describing what he felt was a deliberate plot by the then government (NDC), to deprive poor and vulnerable people of an opportunity to advance themselves in lives.
The NDC had touted that there were several persons in whose names land were given that did not fit the criteria for crown lands,in light of the fact that they already owned several acres.
“The vast, and I mean the vast majority of people who were given lands deserve it, as they are landless said one gentleman who is already well established and doesn’t need crown lands “and if that was the case why didn’t the previous administration deal with the issue on a case by case basis, rather than using one broad brush to sweep all away”.
Two of those who had already identified their lands said they were upset and angry when a member of the agriculture department ordered a bulldozer to uproot and destroy the boundary marks, which were placed after the lands were surveyed.
“That was total wickedness and to me that was the moment which indicated that the previous government just doesn’t want to see poor people rise” said one of those who is now breathing a sigh of relief, that work has resumed to provide persons like herself with a parcel of land.