Has the Minister forgotten that in June 2018 that the Attorney General Faris Al Rawi had claimed in his contribution as he opened debate on the Registration of Titles to Land (Amendment)(No.2) Bill, 2017 that a package of land reform bills will bring relief for 250,000 squatters and the people of Tobago. He said the same bills will also help Government to combat corruption.
Perhaps he has, as nothing has been done since then to deal with the enormous backlog of over 400 renewal of land leases on the desk of the Commissioner of State Lands as was reported to him by MP Vidia Gayadeen Gopeesingh since June 2019.
However, even without the Bill, under the purview of Minister Rambharat, the Ministry of Agriculture spent $.8 million to resurvey 58.9 hectares of state land in Rio Claro. So was this really done? Who was the land surveyor(s) contracted to do this job?
While the Minister advises “the public to be very careful to work with reputable lawyers”, as a highly reputable lawyer, MP Vidia Gayadeen Gopeesingh has been actively seeking the interests of both her clients and constituents in land matters that span decades, all due to the inefficiencies at the Land Registry that has been exacerbated by the incompetence of Ministers Rambharat and Al Rawi.
According to MP Vidia Gayadeen Gopeesingh “since 2018 we have been talking about Land Reform in various packages, but that’s all these two Ministers have done, no action whatsoever. So the pile of certificate of titles, deeds and land leases continue to grow as long as the red tape that encourages fraud and corruption. Now that we’re in an election year, all the promises for land reform return to fool the electorate. What you couldn’t do in five years, you want to do in a few months?”