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94-year-old gets Tobago land deed after 24-year wait
A 94-year-old citizen who applied for title to land since 1984 was among Tobagonians receiving deeds from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday. Persad-Bissessar pointed this out in her address at the distribution ceremony at the Metal Industries Company building in Bon Accord.
“How pleased am I to be able to deliver on my government’s promise to regularise the land title situation that has, for so long, plagued Tobago. Pleased and relieved for the recipients who have endured an interminable and unconscionable wait for this day,” the PM said. Listing reasons why this could not have been done before by the Government, Persad-Bissessar said:
“The laidback custom and culture of the times gone by, staffing inadequacies, equipment inefficiencies, travel and logistics, have all been put forward as reasons.” She said after decades of neglect by the THA, the PP’s Registrar General’s Department was able to put the necessary systems and infrastructure in place to resolve an issue in two years.
Noting that the deeds could now give Tobagonians the opportunity to access loans and construct houses, she said it also granted them a sense of ownership. “Last night at Bon Accord I spoke about this. How can you truly belong to a country when you do not have ownership to your land? More than money, this piece of paper, this deed gives you a sense of belonging to the country of your birth,” she added.
The PM said that was a promise the People’s Partnership made to the people of Tobago. “That was the promise of my government and that is what we are delivering here this morning,” she said. She recalled that under the THA the McKenzie Committee was charged with investigating and making recommendations for amendments to the Real Property Ordinance for lands and titles in Tobago.
“The THA received the McKenzie Report on August 30, 2006 and what did they do with it? They left it on a shelf to gather dust,” the Persad-Bissessar said.
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