Minister gets vesting powers to speed up titling of bauxite lands

MINISTER of Transport and Mining Robert Montague says that his ministry has been given the go-ahead to use vesting powers to assist long-suffering families on bauxite lands to receive titles for the properties.

Montague, opening the 2020/21 annual sectoral debate in the House of Representatives this week, said the ministry had consulted the Attorney General’s Chambers and was given the go-ahead to use the power of vesting orders, under the Bauxite and Alumina Industries (Special Provisions) Act, to speed up the process, which will assist some 5,000 families awaiting titles for parcels of land on which they were resettled by the bauxite mining companies.

The minister said that, on taking over chairmanship of the Bauxite Lands Titling Committee last year, he was concerned that less than 300 titles had been delivered, and that dwellers had been living on the land without titles for up to 50 years.

“It is a disgrace and it should stop. It must stop. It will stop,” said Montague.

“The [vesting powers] along with the recently passed amendment to the Special Provisions Act, will ensure more titles are issued. Once the land is vested in a person or entity, the commissioner of lands will not look beyond the vesting period, but proceed to the title,” he told the House.

“This facility was always used to help the companies. The time is here when this Government, this minister, is going to use it, for the first time, to assist the over 5,000 families that are waiting on a title for parcels of land on which they have been resettled by various bauxite mining companies,” he stated.

“However, we have ensured and enlisted the bauxite companies to make sure that the basic infrastructure must be put in place by them so that people will not only get titles but infrastructure in properly laid-out subdivisions, and that includes running water to the communities,” he added.

The sectoral debate will allow Cabinet ministers and shadow spokespersons to make presentations on issues facing their ministries and communities over the next few weeks.

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