NASSAU, Bahamas — The Land Use Policy and Administration Project (LUPAP), which commenced in June 2005 to address issues related to land administration in the country is on course to be completed by June 15, 2009.
During his contribution to the 2008/2009 Mid-Year Budget Debate Wednesday, Minister of State for Lands and Local Government the Hon. Byran Woodside advised on the status of the LUPAP project.
Mr. Woodside explained that land administration is the term used to describe the various processes for collecting, recording, using and disseminating information about the physical location, extent, ownership and value of land.
He said some of the major problems in land administration are:
- The majority of land information used by the Government is outdated or incomplete;
- Information is scattered among various Government agencies;
- Much of the information is in paper form, which limits its accessibility and use;
- Uncoordinated effort causes inconsistency and inaccuracy, duplication of efforts and higher costs;
- Lack of data standards, rules for inter-agency data sharing and clear responsibilities for data upkeep and maintenance.
Mr. Woodside said the components of the Project are land administration modernisation, land information management and national land issues and policy guidelines. The Government and the Inter-American Development Bank funded the programme with the Government contributing US$1.5 million and the IDB $3.5 million.
The Minister of State also presented the results of the LUPAP project; one being the modernisation and expansion of the land administration services provided by government land agencies responsible for surveying, allocation and management of Crown Land, and registration and taxation of real property.
Other benefits of the project include the provision of geographic information for land use planning and monitoring of development; the strengthening of the technical capacity of the government in collecting, analysing and dissemination of land information and the preparation of policy options and guidelines for national land issues.
Mr. Woodside noted that some of the expectations for the LUPAP project by 2010 are:
Crown Land Policy
National Land Policy
Land Registration System (Freeport as pilot)
Expansion of computerised parcel information systems to other Family Islands
Large-scale mapping of islands
Local Government web-based access to land records
Modernisation of geodetic infrastructure
Expansion of geo-profiles to other islands
Shift focus of Survey Dept. to Regulatory and Quality Control
Rationalisation of land institutions (National land agency)
During the debate, Mr. Woodside also said the Department of Lands and Surveys is in the process of hiring a new Surveyor General and a number of surveyors and estate managers.
“It is our intention to have an able component of trained surveyors and estate managers so that demands to have parcels of land surveyed, especially on the Family Islands will be addressed in a timely manner,” he said. “This will auger well for granting Crown Land to qualified applicants.”
Mr. Woodside said although there is limited Crown Land remaining in New Providence, the Department is inundated with applications for Crown grants in New Providence for farming, commercial ventures, residential demands and churches.
He added that all serious individuals who are interested in farming should send in their applications to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Of the Government Mr. Woodside said, “We remain committed and focused to perform the promises of our Manifesto 2007 to make Crown Lands available to Bahamians at concessionary rates for home construction and business endeavours particularly in the Family Islands; preserve the seabed for the Crown; Reduce; to where possible, bring to an end the unauthorised occupation and development of Crown Lands; and provide for the adequate staffing and funding of the Department of Lands and Surveys.”