Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said a package of land reform bills will bring relief for 250,000 squatters and the people of Tobago. He said the same bills will also help Government to combat corruption. The land registry is “the golden pot” which will drive Government’s anti-corruption package. Al-Rawi made these declarations as he opened debate on the Registration of Titles to Land (Amendment)(No.2) Bill, 2017, in the Senate on Tuesday.
Al-Rawi said the current system of land registration makes it very difficult for squatters to get any kind of security on the lands they occupy. The new system being proposed will address these kinds of problems faced by squatters.
Al-Rawi said,”There can be no greater dignity to someone than the privilege of owning land or knowing the certainty of land.” Underscoring this issue affects 250,000 squatters in TT, he reminded senators, “That’s no small number.”
He said the first place the new legislation will be implemented was in Tobago. “Their title system is in a mess and for years it has not been dealt, “ Al-Rawi declared. Recalling this was a People’s National Movement campaign promise, he said people cannot live on land for generations and then not be able to get mortgages from a bank.
On the issue of corruption, Al-Rawi said the land registry was, “the golden pot to evidence where fraud is, where wealth is, where corruption is, where benefit can be.”
Explaining thatthe bill would work in tandem with other pieces of legislation, Al-Rawi said, “While the grass is growing, there will be another pasture to feed the horse.”
Opposition Senator Wade Mark doubted whether the bill would deal with land fraud. Mark asked Al-Rawi if he knew about allegations regarding 15 acres of land at Morne Jaloux Farms in Central Trinidad. e also asked Al-Rawi if he knew a person named Ricky Ramcharran. The Senate was due to debate three other land bills later in the sitting.