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Anegadians will decide on land committee - Hon Vincent O. Wheatley

- said he is keen to resuscitate the Anegada Land Committee
With the dissemination of Anegada land titles made a priority under the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government, Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Hon Vincent O. Wheatley says his ministry is working to revive the Anegada Land Committee with majority input from the people. Photo: Facebook
The issue of land ownership has been a long standing issue in Anegada. Photo: Provided
The issue of land ownership has been a long standing issue in Anegada. Photo: Provided
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI – With the dissemination of Anegada land titles made a priority under the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government, the Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (AL), said his ministry is working to revive the Anegada Land Committee with majority input from the people.

Hon Wheatley made the comments on the Tuesday, May 21, 2019, edition of “Honestly Speaking” on ZBVI 780am when he told guest host Mitsy J. Ellis-Simpson, filling in for Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline, that the issue of land ownership has always been first on his agenda.  

Land titles first

"If you want to oppress a people, it's very easy, alienate them from their lands. Anegada [has] been kept back for a long time, and my ambition was to start this process as early as I can and work it on my own based on persons who have houses and property mainly in the settlement. That was my ambition," Hon Wheatley said.

He implored that while there are no quotas with regards to how many titles will be distributed in the coming months, one burning issue is to get a land committee up and running.

"Now in terms of quotas, I know I have to expand that office... I would not take it on personally, I have to get the Anegada Lands Committee back up and functioning, as a matter of fact, we have really advanced stages with that,” he said. 

Locals will decide

Honourable Wheatley said he has observed, "from reading the files", that in the past the Minister or some other authorised persons would decide who sits on the committee and charge them with the necessary responsibilities.

According to the Minister, “I don't want to do that [Decide Committee], what I have tasked my Ministry with doing, and they are doing a fantastic job, is to let's come up with a sensible criteria for what a committee should look like," he said.

He said the details of the committee such as who they report to, the terms of reference etc, will then be taken to the community for feedback and for them to decide what they want.

"Let them decide how they want the island to look feel and develop,” he said in noting that the people will have an input in the process and their development.

"Give me the people that you think best serves your interests because it's their island, it's their future, it's their development. It's not for me to choose who gets land in Anegada," Honourable Wheatley said.

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