Georgetown, Guyana – (May 1, 2019) Newly appointed Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams, last evening, handed over 40 Agreements of Sale to residents of Coomacka, Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten), delivering on a promise made to them by former Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon in February.
The Agreement of Sale, once signed by the residents, would then pave the way for land titles to be issued.
On February 23, Mr. Harmon handed over 200 land allocation letters to the residents, for lands which they have been occupying for approximately six decades. The land allocation letters paved the way for surveys to be conducted and the Agreements of Sale to be issued.
This is the first time the residents are receiving legal documentation for the occupied lands.
Minister Hastings-Williams in her remarks, said that this is just the beginning of the issuance of the Agreements of Sale as she will soon return to the community to hand over the others.
“Former Minister [of State] Harmon made a commitment to you all and today we have delivered. We are a Government who just don’t make promises, but we follow up on them and then deliver,” the Minister of State said.
Similarly, Minister of Public Service, Mrs. Tabita Sarabo-Halley told the residents that they were squatting on government lands, but the Government has listened to their concerns and is working to ensure that the community is regularised.
“What this Government has tried to do and is trying to accomplish, is to ensure that you all have a piece of paper for your land in your hands so that if you have to have to go to the bank or anything, you have that. At the end of the day, you will now have a title to a [plot of] land that you are living on,” Mrs. Sarabo-Halley said.
Ms. Jean Wagner, a senior resident of the community, said she has been occupying her land for over 60 years but was never given the opportunity to acquire ownership. Ms. Wagner thanked the Government immensely.
Ms. Bernadette Torres, a health worker, said, “I am feeling very happy today receiving this paper because I have waited over 15 years for this. This is something special for me and this entire community and now I have something that I can leave for my children and grand-children. I would like to thank the Government for this initiative.”
Similarly, Ms. Wendy Wagner, a teacher, who said she has been waiting for this moment since 2005 when the last survey was done in the area. “Today, I am really happy that this process is continuing because it tells me that we are finally heading somewhere and we are progressing. As a resident, I am proud of that and I want say thanks to Minister Harmon and the Government at large because we are very happy that we haven’t been forgotten,” Ms. Wagner expressed.
Ms. Shenelly Brimmer said having this document will empower residents to improve their quality of life. “I have been waiting for quite some years and I am so happy and proud and it is not just me, but every resident you see here. We can finally start the process of improving our lives. I would like to thank Government for moving this process forward and giving us the opportunity to have a title for our lands in our hands,” she said.
Meanwhile, accompanied by Vice-President and Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Mr. Sydney Allicock and Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, Minister Hastings- Williams said the Government had renewed its mandate of engaging residents and as such, the team of Ministers were on the ground to determine what were the development needs of the community.
“We are here to find out what your needs are, because we do not believe in sitting in our offices or rocking back and deciding what Coomacka needs. You have to be the ones to tell us what it is that you need,” the Minister of State said.