6,000 acres of Demerara lands for housing, commerce, industry and agriculture

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2018, 14:30 by Denis Chabrol

GLSC’s Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Trevor Benn

The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) will be opening up some 6,000 acres of state land for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural purposes in Region 4.

GLSC’s Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Trevor Benn, in making the announcement, said the move would see Guyana advancing to the 21st century in infrastructure that will encompass better roads and sidewalks, green spaces and a mix of business, commercial and residential lots.

Commissioner Benn explained that once completed, the area will be equivalent to 51 per cent of the Georgetown landmass, a little more than half of what the City is.

The commissioner noted that this new concept will be ‘an upgrade of Georgetown.’ “We will advertise for bidders using a particular design that we will develop and they will have to meet those design because we cannot continue to have roads where only one car can pass,” Benn was quoted by government’s Department of Public Information as telling a news conference on Monday.

When asked where the area will be located, Benn said, “every time we talk about a new development, squatters take it over and at this time we are not ready to announce so we are going to design it. At this time, we don’t want to mention where that area is until we are ready to do the work.

There has been an increase in expression of interest for state land for commercial and agriculture purpose, especially in Region 4, followed by Region 9, 10 and 6.  To meet this demand, the GLSC has been working to repossess lands owned by persons but are not in beneficial use.

“In many instances we have people coming and making demands for land and producing really good business plans to us and say look if you give us this lease today, we will invest in it, and when you do give it to them it sits inactive, nothing is done with it and so. They also don’t pay their land rent and so we are left with no choice but to repossess those lands,” Benn said.

Another major issue faced by the commission is non-performing leases for which more than 60 per cent were recorded during the year, Benn explained.  A list of clients who owe in excess of $100,000 in land rent was published. Only 12 per cent of the defaulters responded.

According to Benn, Informal sub-letting and transfers of public lands are issues the commission is working to address. “That is causing us a lot of problems,” he said.