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Government hands over 68 plots of land to Sandy Bay residents

Government hands over 68 plots of land to Sandy  Bay residents

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves last week described the distribution of offer-letters for 68 plots of land in Sandy Bay as a continuation of the revolutionary process {{more}} of returning lands to the indigenous people of this country.

The Ministry of Housing, Informal Human Settlement, Land and Surveys and Physical Planning distributed 68 letters for plots of land between 2,000 and 10,000 square feet on August 13 in Noel Range, in the North Windward community.

Some residents who received offer-letters have homes along the sea coast in Sandy Bay and have been victims of tropical storms and hurricanes over the years.

Speaking to the community where land has been an historical issue, Gonsalves traced history of residents’ forebears who had their land forcibly taken from them.

He highlighted the hardship that their ancestors had endured and said: “Many persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines do not pay enough attention to their history”.

The prime minister urged the residents to develop an understanding and appreciation of it.

He pointed out that prior to the British invading St Vincent, the Carib and the Calinago owned 83,000 acres of land. However, 37 years later, after fighting and losing the Carib Wars, they were left with just 238 acres of land.

Persons who have received offer-letters under the relocation programme, due to the risk associated with them living in the danger zone, are being sold lands at 10 cents per square foot. The others are being offered the land at 50 cents per square foot.

This translates into $600 for a 6,000 sq foot lot sold at 10 cents per square foot and $3,000 a 6,000 sq foot lot sold at 50 cents per square foot.

Gonsalves said that it is his government’s policy to support persons who make this country proud through their excellence in sports and culture, hence the inclusion of two outstanding athletes in this latest land distribution thrust.

Juliana Nero, a member of the West Indies Women’s Cricket Team and long-distance runner Benedict Ballantyne also received offer-letters.

Two more pieces of land at a separate location will also be made available to two other North Windward residents.

Providing land and homes to Vincentians who are unable to do so themselves has been a priority of the Unity Labour Party administration since coming to office in 2001, Gonsalves said.

The administration has constructed over 700 houses in Langley Park, Byrea, San Souci, Diamond, Green Hill, Peters Hope, Petit Bordel, and Chateaubelair and has given out approximately 800 lots of land throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking at the event, Montgomery Daniel, parliamentary representative for North Windward, said Howie Prince, director of the National Emergency Management Office, approached him with the suggestion four years ago.

Daniel said the residents of Sandy Bay have experienced “tremendous pain and suffering over the years, but today, many of your hearts are comforted”. (API)

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