NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said it wanted to completely dispel the untrue reports which are being circulated on social media, which falsely claim that the government is conducting a land grab.
The OPM on Monday said it wanted to advise the Bahamian public that these reports are completely fictitious.
According to the OPM, the government’s position on developing a modern land registry and improving access to crown land in The Bahamas is a matter of public record.
“Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced at the weekend that outstanding applications for residents leasing crown land will be processed in the coming weeks, particularly for Family Island residents. This will allow qualified applicants to receive full title to the property,” the OPM’s statement read.
The office of the OPM said as outlined in the prime minister’s 2018/2019 Budget Communication, the Government will commence a land investigation and audit to establish land that is owned or leased by the Government of The Bahamas.
The OPM said the information, in respect of crown lands, will be used in the determination of outstanding land applications at the Department of Lands and Surveys.
“The findings will be used as part of the process to establish a modern land registry in The Bahamas,” the OPM said.
The OPM said it denounces the use of false information and the undue concerns such untruths can cause throughout the country.
Meanwhile, while visiting the islands of Andros and Eleuthera over the weekend, in the latest of a series of town hall meetings, the prime minister told residents that Family Island residents leasing crown land may soon have the opportunity to become landowners.
The prime minister said outstanding applications for residents leasing crown land will be processed in the coming weeks, particularly for Family Island residents.
“Some of you have been leasing land for many years and have even built homes and businesses on the land. You were promised you would get the land, but nothing ever happened,” said the prime minister.
“We are prepared to give you free title to that land so you can take that to the bank and borrow money to expand your home or business.”
The prime minister also noted that the government’s ambitious affordable housing program will also provide additional land ownership opportunities for Family Island residents.
The Government, he said, is in the process of developing subdivisions in New Providence and Family Islands, featuring lots – complete with infrastructure – for sale at less than $30,000.
“We want you to have a home,” said the Prime Minister.
The nation’s chief also encouraged Family Island residents to become involved in tourism, the country’s primary industry, and to take advantage of business startup opportunities, through the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre’s grant program.
The Town Hall meetings are part of Prime Minister Minnis’ commitment to providing regular updates to Family Island communities throughout the country.
The Prime Minister is next scheduled to hold Town Hall meetings in Exuma and Long Island.
Meanwhile, also commenting yesterday on the land grab allegations, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) chairman Fred Mitchell said the government owns approximately two million acres of crown land.
Yesterday, he warned that the prime minister should be careful about how he goes about using the power of public acquisition to allegedly take property away from individuals.
According to Mitchell, there are still a large amount of matters outstanding in regards property.