The Dominica Government will announce an eternal encumbrance on all government owned lands being sold as part of stringent land use policies, Minister for Housing and Lands, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced.
However, he noted that when sold, the lands can only be used for agricultural purposes, even if it is sold to a secondary buyer as this will be beneficial to upcoming generations.
He made that announcement while speaking at a handing over ceremony held on Friday 8 June 2018 at the Ministry of Finance.
“What we are doing is not really for ourselves; we’re doing it for succeeding generations, and very soon we will also be articulating some very stringent land use policies,” Mr. Skerrit said.
Mr. Skerrit stated that as the new Minister for Lands, “when we sell you agricultural lands, you will not be able to dispose of it for any other purpose but to grow crops”.
“So there will an eternal encumbrance on the land. I am removing the ten year encumbrance,” he informed.
“I am sending the message to all of us in Dominica; there is no limit on the encumbrance. When we sell you agricultural lands, it has to be passed on to the coming generations to sell crops to feed ourselves,” he stated.
Mr. Skerrit said his government has taken this decision in order to ensure that suitable agricultural land is not being used for other purposes.
He said this is one of the main reasons why his government is constructing apartment buildings for person who were left homeless as a result of the hurricane as they take up less land space.
He therefore appealed for the public’s support in taking these “very tough decisions” where the protection of the environment and agricultural land is concerned.
“Because I do not want to have a situation where now or in the foreseeable future, we have to import crops that we’ve always been known to grow here,” Mr. Skerrit said.
“We will employ new farming practices and techniques but there are some things that must remain the traditional way and we have to protect the traditional way of agriculture,” Prime Minister Skerrit added.