Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 18, 2021 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis through the Ministry of Sustainable Development has decided to offer discounted land rates, interest-free, to approximately 90 residents who reside on properties at La Guerite Extension without title, right or lease.
“For a number of years, the residents of the La Guerite Community have been living in unsustainable conditions and the government vowed that they would change this and bring it to a place where they can feel proud to live. The government then decided to give them ownership of the land that they have been living on,” said Elretha Simpson-Browne, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development during an interview with the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS) on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, when the ministry commenced the first in a series of meetings with residents. “The government also would have reduced the land. Because they have been living there for so long, they will be getting the land at two (2) dollars per sq. ft.”
Mrs. Simpson-Browne said that the matter was taken to Cabinet by the Parliamentary Representative, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, and Cabinet decided to sell for half the price instead of four (4) dollars.
Addressing the residents, PS Simpson-Browne said that the idea of owning a piece of land empowers people, hence the government is indeed pleased to assist.
“Land ownership is a very serious thing because land ownership not only gives you the power to construct your house, repair your house… it allows your child or children to go off to university, get a loan for whatever reason, you name it. It gives you the power,” she said. “So, you coming here today in starting the process to own the land that you live on I find that remarkable and I just want to congratulate and commend all of you.”
Dwight Francis, Director of Lands and Surveys, shared similar sentiments adding that the project aims to help the residents to live more comfortably.
“We want you guys to understand and appreciate that moving forward we are now regularizing your situation whereas before you could not have used the parcel to get any kind of financing because you did not have the security of tenure. We are now allowing you the opportunity to get ownership and with this ownership, you can now access financing that was not available to you before,” said Mr. Francis. “We are trying to see how best we can help you to help yourself to develop and uplift the area and make it a much better place for everyone.”
Residents raised pertinent questions to which ministry officials provided adequate and satisfactory responses. The staff of the Ministry of Sustainable Development was on hand to assist persons in filling out their application forms.
The project is dubbed La Guerite North. To maintain a beautiful surrounding and ensure there is a value-added to the properties, owners will not be permitted to fence their properties with galvanize/galvalume. Additionally, no resident will be permitted to rare goats, sheep, or pigs in the area. However, the residents were encouraged to engage in backyard gardening/farming.