Moratorium placed on granting crownland

A moratorium on the granting of crownland has been implemented until early next year, said Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard.

The government has begun the process of a land audit, which is currently underway.

The audit is expected to be completed by February 2019.

Pintard said for decades Bahamians who have been granted land have not used the crown land for its intended purpose, and those found in circumvention risk having the land reclaimed.

In a recent interview with Eyewitness News, Pintard said that government has committed to establishing a land registry that would give a “true and proper” account of the land that government owns and exactly what is being leased out.

“We have to examine the files to make sure that there is no overlap in land that has been allocated,” Pintard  explained, claiming that it is quite possible that parcels of land have been allocated to more than one party.

“ We have to ensure that what is on file mirrors what is on the land.”

Pintard said that in recent times, structures including apartments, businesses and even churches have been constructed on property allocated for farming.

“Officers have found any and everything on these parcels of land, different from what was applied for and we cannot allow this to continue,” Pintard said.

“They have constructed road side garages, dwellings and other structures, and so we are going through the files to arrive at a conclusion that we hope to have concluded by early next year.”

Recognizing the challenges a moratorium may present due to time sensitive proposals, Pintard said he is more than willing to give certain applications special consideration.

“Obviously the government can’t stop doing business entirely during this period so I am prepared to carry a paper to cabinet for my colleague’s consideration based on the magnitude and circumstances to look at it and deliberate.”